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Wednesday, August 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Past opinions provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

JFK assassination, Nov 27, 1963

An S-R editorial called for an inquiry into the assassination of President Kennedy. It seemed like such a simple request at the time.

“When anything as unexpected and incredible as the assassination of the president happens, the public is certainly entitled to know everything that authorities learn concerning the incident.

“Unfortunately, this became more difficult when the person charged with the assassination was, himself, murdered.

“President Johnson has made a wise move in ordering the Federal Bureau of Investigation to prepare a detailed report on the entire affair to tell the people all of the facts. To one degree this already has been done by Dallas police, who released a report of their findings which substantiated their statement that the evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald was conclusive. In addition, there will be a Texas state inquiry made which should produce even more facts.

“Between the three, and before the entire case is closed, the American people should know not only what happened, but why.

“It was an unfortunate incident and will leave a permanent black mark in history. But it can be made better if all the facts are discovered and the public can be adequately informed.”

AIDS patients, Nov. 30, 1987

The S-R editorial board weighed in on a Deaconess Medical Center study on how to handle AIDS patients.

“No one can fault doctors at Deaconess Medical Center for wanting answers about AIDS and the risks it poses to them in their practices. As of July, the national Centers for Disease Control had received 1,875 reports of health-care workers nationwide who have become infected with the virus or have contracted AIDS itself – 5.8 percent of the total AIDS cases.”

The editorial went on to say: “Knowing the level of risk may not stop spread of the AIDS virus to health care workers. Knowing specifically which patients are infected with the AIDS virus raises difficult questions: If a test result is positive, could care-givers’ anxiety impair treatment of the patient for an unrelated condition? Would a negative result lull health-care workers into becoming more lax about safeguards, a danger in the period between a patient’s exposure of the virus and development of the antibodies?

“What about the potential effects on patients? Would they go elsewhere, even if the test results are confidential, rather than risk the remote possibility of exposure? Should they be told the test results, creating the risk of reporting false positive results?

“In every corner of the land, everyone – agencies, organizations, schools, companies, government – is studying how to deal with AIDS. The wheel is being invented and reinvented at great cost in terms of both dollars and efforts. That will continue until the federal government adopts a strong leadership role to combat the disease that poses an enormous threat to the health of the nation.”

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