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Should I tell before the surgery?
Sep 11, 1997

Q1: If someone with HIV did not tell physicians that he or she is infected, should there be any kind of punishments toward PWH? A number of appendicitis patiens with HIV were found treated in EU without having a surgery once the doctors learn the fact that the patient has HIV. Similar cases were found in other medical field as well. Surgical doctors seem quite reluctant in terms of conducting a simple surgery such as removing the appendix. Q2: If PWH above should be punished for not revealing the fact of having HIV, then, should the doctors be punished as well if they refuse operating a surgery? yikwang@ms2.hinet.net

Response from Ms. Breuer

Any time a surgeon refuses to operate on an HIV-positive person, that should be reported to the hospital administration. It is inconsistent with medical ethics for such a refusal to take place. Find a new surgeon and report the refuser.

As for the patient telling the doctor that s/he is HIV-positive, that is a courtesy on the patient's part and should be done. Universal precautions are in place to protect health care professionals when the patient does not tell or does not know.

Nancy Breuer



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