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

Danuta Mendelson, Michael Keane, Mirko Bagaric, at al, "Legal Implications of Personal Protective Equipment Use When Treating Patients for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)" (2020) 28 Journal of Law and Medicine

8 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2020

See all articles by Danuta Mendelson

Danuta Mendelson

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School

Michael Keane

Swinburne University of Technology; Monash Health; Monash University - Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine

Mirko Bagaric

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

Cameron Graydon

Queensland Children's Hospital

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 11, 2020

Abstract

Front-line health care personnel, including anaesthetists, otolaryngologists, and other health professionals 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 aerosol-generating procedures, such as intubation, sputum induction, open suctioning of airways, bronchoscopy, etc. of COVID-19 patients. Although several international bodies have issued recommendations for a very high-level PPE to be used when these procedures are undertaken, the current PPE guidelines in Australia have tended to be more relaxed, and hospital authorities relying on them might not comply with legal obligations to their employee health care workers. Failure to provide high-level PPE in many hospitals is of concern for a large number of health care 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, pandemic, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE); front-line health personnel, duty of care, standard of care, employer liability

JEL Classification: I18, K13

Suggested Citation

Mendelson, Danuta and Keane, Michael and Bagaric, Mirko and Graydon, Cameron, Legal Implications of Personal Protective Equipment Use When Treating Patients for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) (August 11, 2020). Danuta Mendelson, Michael Keane, Mirko Bagaric, at al, "Legal Implications of Personal Protective Equipment Use When Treating Patients for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)" (2020) 28 Journal of Law and Medicine, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3671313 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3671313

Danuta Mendelson (Contact Author)

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

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

Michael Keane

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

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

Monash Health ( email )

Australia

Monash University - Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine ( email )

99 Commercial Road
Melbourne Victoria 3004
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

Queensland Children's Hospital ( email )

Brisbane
Australia

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