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† E.What Doctors Would Talk About If They Could

Narrator: This is Science Today. Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California, San Francisco surveyed a group of doctors who care for AIDS patients and found that over half had helped at least one terminally ill patient commit suicide. But due to serious legal consequences, itís not something they want to talk about.

Abrams: Itís not very frequently discussed. The number of medical meetings Iíve gone to where Iíve been asked to present on this topic has not increased over the years.

Narrator: But informally, says Abrams, young doctors are eager to talk about physician-assisted suicide.

Abrams: When Iím doing medicine attending rounds at San Francisco General Hospital, I have discussed this with my house staff team -- my interns, residents and medical students -- and I find that they really glom onto it, theyíre very very interested and very excited to be able to talk about this seemingly taboo subject in a very casual, open fashion. They appreciate it because I think people perceive that this is an ethical, personal, legal issue that theyíre going to have to deal with.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.