Verghese comes to see AIDS “as the litmus test for nurses and physicians, a means of identifying who would and who wouldn’t” [p. 105] provide treatment and, in so doing, risk their own health. 

Is there an excuse for the hostile attitude of nurses who don’t want to treat AIDS patients? 

Should people who have committed themselves to careers as doctors or nurses be morally obligated to treat any and every patient? 

In Johnson City, just how deeply does the hospital staff’s attitude towards AIDS change over the course of the four years Verghese describes?

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