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Hospitals face legal dilemma if they test incapacitated patients after needle accidents
Date:8/31/2010

consent would be forthcoming in fact, this research showed that one patient refused to be tested when they regained capacity.

  • It has been argued that the healthcare worker has a right to know the BBV status of the patient if they have sustained a needlestick injury. Under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, the healthcare worker's right to know could be deemed greater than the right of the patient not to know. This has not been formally tested in a court of law, but this argument currently appears to be unlawful.

    "Our survey shows that significant numbers of intensive care unit staff in the UK suffer needlestick injuries and it is not unusual that these can come from patients who test positive for BBVs" concludes Dr Burrows.

    "It highlights the need for further discussion within the profession and with legislators regarding needlestick injuries and the legality of testing incapacitated patients for blood-borne virus infections."

    "Dr Burrows' paper is very important because it highlights, once again, that legislation introduced with the best intentions has had unforeseen consequences and that urgent clarification is required" says Dr Andrew Hartle, Honorary Secretary Elect of the AAGBI and chair of the working party set up to explore this issue. "It is also very well timed, as a survey of working practices is one of the recommendations of the working group."

    Dr Hartle's editorial provides a detailed analysis of the legal dilemma facing doctors, the possible implications for staff who test without consent and recommendations for change.

    "We are very conscious that testing without consent could leave our members open to criminal law, civil law and professional misconduct proceedings" he says.

    "That is why we and our working party colleagues who include the Royal College of Anaesthetists, Intensive Care Society, Royal College of Nursing, ethicists and patient representatives feel that urg
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  • Contact: Annette Whibley
    wizard.media@virgin.net
    Wiley-Blackwell
    Source:Eurekalert

    Page: 1 2 3 4

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