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Surgeons With HIV
May 11, 2004

Hi. I am doing a debate for my chemistry class and I was hoping for some expert advice. The debate scenario is that I am a lawyer for a hospital that is firing an HIV-positive surgeon. Any information, ideas or helpful websites would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Ms. Breuer

A debate for chemistry class? Sounds more interesting than the chemistry classes I took in high school. A debate would have been a refreshing departure.

There's nothing on the table between keeping the surgeon functioning as a surgeon and firing the surgeon? Serious lack of imagination!

For information on how hospitals make these decisions, I'd start with (the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, which tracks this kind of phenomenon) and follow the links from there. I'd also go to, the CDC's Web site, and look for health care provider protocols under their AIDS heading. Do look at for health care provider protocols as well. Remember that we don't have a body of law governing this stuff. Individual hospital boards make these decisions, based on the surgeon's specialty.

Would you argue for firing a surgeon who specializes in corneal implants, for example? And let's work on the "firing" language. The surgeon has spent half a lifetime getting ready to do this work. Early retirement? Disability leave? Administrative duties? Minimally invasive surgery? Picture yourself as the surgeon and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about.

Good luck.

Advice - relocating
My boyfriend has the HIV.

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