Patient Care and the Health-Impaired Practitioner
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 78, pp. 171-177, 2002
7 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2006
The risk of HIV-infected or otherwise impaired practitioners infecting or injuring their patients is very low, but is of proper concern to patients, practitioners and healthcare facilities. Practitioners' general legal and ethical duties to protect patients includes protection against their own liability to present risk of harm. Healthcare facilities have similar duties of care to protect patients, for instance by proper selection and management of personnel, but may also bear indirect or vicarious ('no fault') legal liability for injuries due to the negligence of the personnel they engage. Impaired practitioners should disclose their status to licensing and health facility authorities. They are entitled to non-discriminatory employment opportunities, but may be licensed and approved to practice under conditions that appropriately protect patients. When impaired practitioners practice within such approved conditions, modern courts hold that they have no legal duty to volunteer disclosure of their status to their patients.
Keywords: Impaired healthcare practitioners, HIV-positive physicians, HIV-positive healthcare staff, Practitioner-to-patient infection, Vicarious legal liability of health facilities, Legal liability of health facilities, Hospital legal liability, Health facility legal liability
JEL Classification: I18, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation