Skip navigation
C. Helping AIDS Patients End Their Lives

Narrator: This is Science Today. As the national debate over physician-assisted suicide continues, a study of doctors who treat AIDS patients found that over half the doctors admitted to helping some patients end their lives. Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California, San Francisco says the usual method was to prescribe lethal doses of painkillers or barbiturates.

Abrams: That is, written prescriptions so that patients have access to these medications when they decide that they would like to leave this world.

Narrator: But Abrams notes the survey was conducted before the powerful AIDS drugs known as protease inhibitors became available.

Abrams: And certainly, currently we're in a new era of enthusiasm and hope for treatment, for possibly eradicating the virus from individuals, some people even mention the word cure. I think it would be interesting to again repeat this questionnaire in another five years if we're still dealing with AIDS as we know it today, and see what the situation is.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.