Bill Paley (mycroftca) wrote,
Bill Paley

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Earlier today, on NPR, there was an interview with a doctor who would be a contemporary of mine; this gentleman chose the path to become a leading expert in AIDS, while I took a different direction. Apparently, this is about the time, thirty years ago, that the disease was first announced, long before it was understood. Assuming that we truly understand it, at present.

One thing that he mentioned, I recall vividly of the time: Many doctors refused to see/examine/treat those afflicted with the disease, since the spread/vector/agent was unknown at the time. Though most doctors did what they could, and protected themselves as best they knew how, a number stated "I didn't sign on for this".

Well, IMO, they did. One of the reasons that doctors received higher remuneration was that they spent time with the sick and dying, and that they risked their own lives doing so. Plague, viruses, fungi; these were all things that doctors deal with/dealt with on a daily basis, and those refusing to treat patients with AIDS disgusted me.

Nowadays, with the various medication/antiviral cocktails, AIDS is like hypertension, or diabetes mellitus, in that it is a chronic illness that can be controlled, but not cured, and those folks can now live a normal life. But the cowardly, self-serving attitudes that first showed up among some doctors shocked me to the core.

I must say that I was surprised to realize that I'd forgotten this, and the NPR interview was valuable to me to have jogged that memory.

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