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Code of Ethics/CBC

Sep 7, 1998

Dr.Holodniy, Two questions regarding routine CBC testing, First, As a Doctor, What does a CBC tell you, can it be used at all to rule in OR out possible HIV infection? Also, is a doctor, or surgeon for that matter, obligated to tell his/her patient the results of anything abnormal or potentially dangerous from a CBC, i understand this may be difficult to answer, as doctors are human too and can get caught up in many things and could possibly forget.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

A CBC measures several things regarding blood counts. First it tells you how much hemoglobin/hematocrit (H/H, ability of your blood to carry oxygen) and red blood cells (RBC which contain the H/H) there are. Next it measures the platelet count. These cells are important in blood clotting. Lastly it measures the white blood cell count(WBC). There are several types of WBC (including lymphocytes which are very important in HIV infection). It CANNOT be used as a test for the diagnosis of HIV infection. Also, T cell counts (a type of lymphocyte), CANNOT be used for the diagnosis of HIV infection. I cannot comment on the legalities of your question. Good medical practice would dictate that physicians discuss a patients's laboratory results (and there interpretation) with the patient. MH

Just wondering????

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