Printer Friendly

When the shoe is on the other foot.

Surgeons, dentists, and other health workers whose duties expose them to blood or other body fluids are very mindful these days of the AIDS threat. Most dentists, for example, now wear gloves and masks while working in the patient's mouth. One prominent San Francisco surgeon even wears a complete "space suit" while operating.

Fortunately, the risk of contracting AIDS from patients has proved thus far to be very low-but what about vice versa? When it was learned that the recent death of a Florida dentist was due to AIDS, the local health authority offered the dentist's patients free HIV blood tests. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have estimated that as many as 300 surgeons and 1,200 dentists may be infected with the AIDS virus. The CDC calculate that, as a group, they may have infected as few as 13, or as many as 128, of their patients. At worst, this would mean that the chance of being infected by one's doctor or dentist is less than one in a million. Nonetheless, the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association have urged their members with AIDS to warn their patients, or cease their practices altogether.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent a surgeon or dentist with AIDS from continuing to practice. We can only hope that those so afflicted will act responsibly when they learn that they have the disease.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:risk of contracting AIDS from infected health professional
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Words:236
Previous Article:Another plastic part from the body shop?
Next Article:Bless the vampires, leeches, and other bloodsuckers!
Topics:


Related Articles
Workers and blood: call for caution.
The risk of AIDS infection from casual job contact.
A dangerous first in AIDS transmission?
The risk of AIDS to laboratorians: an update.
Lab-related findings from the Sixth International Conference on AIDS.
HIV's heterosexual gender gap.
AIDS: medical groups balk at naming high-risk procedures.
HIV testing of health care workers.
Some needle sticks worse than others.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters