This is the narrative of an old doctor. Once greatly admired, he is now ridiculed by young doctors who find his techniques outdated and his lectures boring. His specialty is microbiology; his lab works on AIDS. His daughter asks him to support a group demanding that researchers release without so much delay the preventive drugs they are developing for AIDS patients. The doctor refuses on the grounds that the drugs need more testing. Later he finds out that his son is dying of AIDS.


The story takes up the ethical question of whether it is better to let people die while testing drugs or to risk treating them with drugs which have unknown side-effects. It is unclear whether the doctor's position changes after the disease hits his own son. The story aims to create sympathy for the elderly physician.

Primary Source

Doctors and Other Casualties



Place Published

New York



Page Count