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April 21, 1989

Jewish Law and the Obligation of the Physician to Heal Patients With AIDS

JAMA. 1989;261(15):2199. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420150049020

To the Editor.—  As a gay man, a Jew, and a physician who takes care of people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, I was offended and angered by the recent letter by Dr Rosner.1 While it is noble for him to feel obligated to treat patients ("homosexuals and drug addicts") who (he feels) are "evil," maybe he should look for another line of work.There are plenty of dedicated physicians who do not consider their patients "evildoers" who "should be helped to repent from their evil practices." People with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome need care givers who do not make moral judgments about them. It's hard enough to have a life-threatening illness without being advised by one's physician to "repent" something that, in the case of homosexual orientation, is a God-given characteristic and not a chosen "evil practice." Fortunately, Dr Rosner's view represents only the extreme fringe of modern Jewish philosophy.