FATAL DOSES

ASSISTED SUICIDE SOARS IN AN AFFLICTED COMMUNITY

Throughout the debate over assisted suicide, it has been understood that a certain number of American doctors--between 7% and 9%, say researchers--have been willing to help desperate patients die, regardless of legal sanction. But a study in last week's New England Journal of Medicine provides a grim window into the revised norms of a plague community. A group led by clinical psychologist Lee Slome reports that in a survey of 118 San Francisco-area physicians working with AIDS patients, 53% indicated (via an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire) that they had knowingly prescribed a deadly dose of narcotics to patients who wanted to die....

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