AIDS and Healthcare Workers Essay

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The case of Doctor David Acer and his HIV infected patients reads as a question of ethical and legal dilemmas as well as a murder mystery. According to authorities, Dr. Acer either knowingly or unknowingly infected five of his patients with the strain of the AIDS virus he himself was infected with (Altman, 1993). Whether or not Dr. Acer was guilty of intentionally infecting his patients is not able to be answered beyond any reasonable doubt, however the ethical questions it presents merit discussion. The family of a deceased victim, Miss Kimberly Bergalis, pushed for laws mandating that healthcare workers be tested for AIDS and required to tell patients of positive results (Altman, 1993). I believe this to be an unfounded and unethical …show more content…
He also goes on to describe that 19,000 patients of infected 57 different healthcare workers were tested following this incident, and none presented with the virus from medical treatment (Altman, 1993). If there is a need for regulations allowing a patient to know there is a possibility for HIV infection from treatment, it should be no more than a requirement for all informed consent forms to list the possibility that healthcare workers may be infected with HIV. It should also state that the risk is incredibly low. As well as only one health care professional ever infecting a patient with HIV, it’s still unclear whether Dr. Acer accidentally or intentionally infected his patients. Sources differ in opinion when presented with the question. The Federal General Accounting Office stated that no evidence supported that Dr. Acer deliberately infected those in his care (Altman, 1993).The most plausible accidental infection would be through a needle stick. However, Altman explains, “…studies have shown that only about one stick in 300 transmits the infection” (Altman, 1993). Therefore, his success rate would be unheard of if the patients he infected were selected, as suggested by Dr. Acer’s claimed friend, Edward Parsons. Parsons’ gave the case against Dr. Acer a motive, sharing that in a private conversation Dr. Acer told him, “When it starts affecting grandmothers and younger people, then you’ll see something
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