Physician Refusal of HIV+ Patients
Shortly after beginning duty on a renal service with about 15% of patients who are HIV positive, a 27 year old married medical resident requested reassignment. Reasoning that patients’ bodily fluids — peritoneal dialysate and blood — contaminated bed clothes and were frequently spilled on work surfaces, the resident commented that she ought to have control over where and when her life was at risk. She remarked that she would not have asked for removal from the renal service if the HIV patients under her care were “innocent” and had become infected from contaminated blood products as in the case of American hemophiliacs and factor VIII. By contrast, however, she stated that she was not prepared to die for an intravenous heroin addict who used contaminated needles, or a homosexual man unable to resist bath houses. The Chief of the Medical service was unsympathetic to the resident’s position. “Any resident unwilling to provide first class em pathetic care to our HIV positive patients shall be immediately terminated from this Medical Service,” he announced, thereby ending the problem by fiat.
KeywordsEmployment Contract Medical Resident Homosexual Behavior Hillsborough County Woman Surgeon
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