Should blood-borne virus testing be part of operative consent? When the doctor becomes the patient

Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (8):476-478 (2011)
Point-of-care testing (POCT) is a sensitive, specific and rapid form of testing for the presence of HIV antibodies. Post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection can reduce seroconversion rates by up to 80%. Needlestick injuries are the second commonest cause of occupational injury in the NHS and 20% of these occur during operations. In the NHS, in order to protect staff and patients from the risk of bloodborne viruses such as HIV, it is mandatory to report such injuries; however, numerous studies have shown that many groups, particularly doctors, are reluctant to do so. This article outlines the arguments for and against the introduction of preoperatively seeking consent from patients to have their blood tested for HIV via POCT in order to improve the reporting rates of needlestick injuries incurred during surgery and to protect staff from infection
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DOI 10.1136/jme.2010.038638
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Marian Rabinowitz (1980). Medicine as a Trade. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 1 (3):255-261.
Richard T. Hull (1985). Informed Consent: Patient's Right or Patient's Duty? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 10 (2):183-198.
Harry H. Gordon (1983). The Doctor–Patient Relationship. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 8 (3):243-256.

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