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† E. Physician-Assisted Suicide: Donít Ask, Donít Tell

Narrator: This is Science Today. Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California, San Francisco led a survey of doctors who care for AIDS patients. The subject was physician-assisted suicide, and over half the doctors said theyíd helped at least one patient end his or her life. But itís not something doctors talk about with each other.

Abrams: We asked physicians how often they discussed the issue of physician-assisted suicide with their colleagues, their peers. And among respondents in 1990, the mean response was 3.8 times. And in 1995 it was 2.7 times. So the perception that this is something that we donít discuss amongst ourselves as health care providers is correct.

Narrator: Abrams says thereís one good reason why that may be so.

Abrams: What we do know is that the Board of Medical Quality Assurance in October of Ď96 issued a brief, if you will, from the Attorney Generalís office reminding us all that physician-assisted suicide is tantamount to murder and hence a felony in the state of California.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.