Legal Implications of Personal Protective Equipment Use When Treating Patients for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

8 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2020

See all articles by Michael Keane

Michael Keane

Swinburne University of Technology

Danuta Mendelson

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School

Mirko Bagaric

Director of the Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project, Swinburne University Law School

Cameron Graydon

Queensland Children's Hospital

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Date Written: April 20, 2020

Abstract

Front-line healthcare personnel, particularly anesthetists and others dealing with acute cases of coronavirus, face a high risk of infection and thus mortality. The scientific evidence establishes that to protect them, hospital protocols should require that wearing of the highest levels of personal protective equipment [PPE] be available for doctors and nurses performing intubation of COVID-19 patients. Although several international bodies have issued recommendations for a very high-level PPE to be used when intubation procedures are undertaken, the current PPE guidelines in Australia are more relaxed, and hospital authorities relying on them might not comply with legal obligations to their employee healthcare workers.

Failure to provide high level PPE in many hospitals is of concern for large number of healthcare workers; this article examines the scientific literature on the topic and provides a legal perspective on hospital authorities’ possible liability in negligence.

Keywords: CoVID-19; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); healthcare workers; Hospitals' duty of care; employees; standard of care

JEL Classification: I10, K49

Suggested Citation

Keane, Michael and Mendelson, Danuta and Bagaric, Mirko and Graydon, Cameron, Legal Implications of Personal Protective Equipment Use When Treating Patients for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) (April 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3580529 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3580529

Michael Keane

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

Danuta Mendelson

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School ( email )

221 Burwood Highway
Burwood
Burwood, Victoria 3125, Victoria 3125
Australia

Mirko Bagaric

Director of the Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project, Swinburne University Law School ( email )

Hawthorn
Hawthorn
Burwood, Victoria 3000
Australia

Cameron Graydon (Contact Author)

Queensland Children's Hospital ( email )

Brisbane
Australia

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