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Physician Disclosure of HIV status

Should physicians be required to disclose personal information about themselves to patients as part of obtaining informed consent from patients? Personal information such as their HIV status and if the (physicians) have any disabilities such as alcoholism or drug addiction.

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The questions of "Should physicians be required to disclose personal information about themselves to patients as part of obtaining informed consent from patients" become very complicated and difficult. Take the case of a surgeon that had contracted the HIV virus after operating on a patients. The surgeon name is Dr. Kelly who has unfortunately, had a needle from an HIV positive patients puncture her skin and infected her with HIV virus. She has no symptoms yet, and such infection was very rare (3 per 1000 events). She has no reported symptoms that would suggest she has active HIV infection. The fact that Dr. Kelly is infected with HIV will likely have an effect on her career as a surgeon. She needs to know whether she will cause harm to her patients when performing surgery on them. She has accepted the obligation to do no harm and be as skilled and knowledgable as she can. She needs to recommend and do what is best for her patients and be honest with them. Besides these duties, she has also accepted the responsibility and challenge of providing the facts that her patients need to give voluntary informed consent for her to perform surgery on them.

Dr. Kelly needs to know if her HIV conditions will impair her ability to perform her tasks safely and competently as a surgeon. Will her condition pose a significant risk to her patients now or in the future. Dr. Kelly should be aware of the risk that she may pose of transmitting HIV infection to a patient. Dr. Kelly may need to abandon her profession of surgery. If she continues, she may have to disclose her HIV infection status. In addition, when the patients' parents learned of her status, they may decline to have her operate on their children. Dr. Kelly should consult quickly with an ...

Solution Summary

The debate of whether physician should disclose their health conditions( having HIV) to their patients becomes a matter of two coins. On the one hand, some hospitals require doctors to disclose their HIV status to them. On the other hand, the American Medical Association does not require physicians to disclose their HIV status. Regardless of which side is correct, the patients have the rights to know if the doctors that is treating them have HIV or not. It is the patient's safety that is the first priority and patients should be allowed to know.