|Doctor's HIV Status
Jun 15, 2001
If, during surgery, a doctor cuts himself can he require the patient submit to an HIV test and does the patient have a right to know the HIV status of the doctor in California?
| Response from Dr. Aberg
If a surgeon cuts himself during a surgery then he/she does have the right to have the patient tested for HIV and Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. This same goes for any occupational exposure. The healthcare worker should be tested at time of injury for HIV and Hepatitis B/C to see if that person is already infected. Depending on the risk, the injured person is offered therapy for HIV. Most healthcare workers have been vaccinated against Hepatitis B so this is not usually an issue. Currently, therapy is not offered to prevent Hepatitis C if the injured person is Hepatitis C negative and the source contact is Hepatitis C positive. Details of occupational exposure can be found on a web site http://www.hivatis.org and click on current guidelines.
Now for the reverse. Does a physician have to inform patients of his HIV status? I do not of any law that mandates that a surgeon discolse his HIV status to a patient. The risk of a healthcare professional transmitting HIV to a patient is almost incredibly low. I would have to recommend that you ask an attorney in California about the laws in that state.
Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS
This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.
Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.