Legal Implications of Personal Protective Equipment Use When Treating Patients for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)
8 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2020
Date Written: April 20, 2020
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: Suggested Citation