Medicine: Courage, Doc: A sharp warning to health pros

A sharp warning to health pros

The AIDS crisis may be undermining the "ethical foundation of health care itself." So warned U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop last week in Washington before President Reagan's commission on the HIV epidemic. Citing reports of doctors and other health-care workers "who refuse to treat persons with AIDS," Koop delivered a stinging broadside against the medical profession. Said he: "The good conduct of the majority does not release us from facing the unprofessional conduct of a fearful and irrational minority."

While agreeing in principle, some doctors questioned Koop's fairness. Said Dr. Alan Nelson, chairman of the American Medical Association's board: "The...