AIDS, judges, and the right to medical care

Hastings Cent Rep. 1988 Aug-Sep;18(4):20-2.


KIE: The author critiques the ruling in Dallas Gay Alliance v. Parkland Memorial Hospital (14th Dist. Dallas Co., 20 May 1988), that ordered the immediate dispensing of AZT and experimental aerosolized pentamidine to all indigent AIDS patients who qualified for these drugs, as well as the abolition of all bed limitations for indigent patients with AIDS. In Annas's opinion, the judge's actions were guided by politics rather than by law, which recognizes no constitutional right to medical care and protects even the terminally ill from the potentially devastating effects of experimental drugs. Annas argues that the solution to the lack of universal access in our health care system should come from Congress and the individual state legislatures, bodies that are better suited to gather information and to make political and policy decisions than are judges.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / therapy*
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Health Care Rationing
  • Hospitals, Public / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Medical Indigency*
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Pentamidine / therapeutic use
  • Resource Allocation*
  • Texas
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Waiting Lists
  • Zidovudine / therapeutic use


  • Zidovudine
  • Pentamidine