Infected Physicians and Invasive Procedures: National Policy and Legal Reality

Recent reports of the transmission of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV from physicians to patients during invasive procedures have again raised the question of whether physicians infected with bloodborne pathogens should perform invasive procedures that place patients at risk, and if so, under what conditions. Attempts to formulate a national policy on this subject must consider the competing interests of the patient’s welfare versus the physician’s livelihood. A review of the legal aspects of this topic is provided to assist policy makers and to serve as a foundation for the recommended establishment of a multidisciplinary committee to develop a uniform national policy. Both legal and medical realities call for the formulation of a clear policy to guide those who must make the decisions on this issue.

Author(s): Patti Miller Tereskerz; Richard D. Pearson; Janine Jagger

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Volume 77, Issue 4 (pages 511–529)
DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.00150
Published in 1999