Today's Labour News

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medicaldoctorEWN reports that according to a medical law and ethics expert, clearer guidelines for healthcare workers were needed when it came to the treatment of Covid-19 patients.  

Doctors, nurses and hospital support staff are exposed to the disease daily, but it is unclear whether they can refuse to treat patients if they feel their own lives are at risk.  Five nurses in the Eastern Cape were suspended last month, after they refused to treat a patient suspected of having Covid-19, citing a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).  In a recent webinar hosted by the SA Society of Cardiovascular Intervention, clinicians and others highlighted grey areas between workers having to treat patients and the right to protect their own lives.  Deputy chair of the SA Medico-Legal Association, Dr Henry Lerm, said that healthcare practitioners’ refusal to treat a patient on the basis of their health status amounted to unethical conduct.  In terms of the guidelines of the Health Professions Council of SA and the Critical Care Society of SA, which have been endorsed by the medical association, such refusal would amount to unethical conduct and would be against professional rules, Lerm asserted.  But, he highlighted that a doctor’s duty to provide medical treatment as taken from the Hippocratic Oath needed to be reviewed:  Lerm suggested that a summit should be hosted to resolve such issues.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kevin Brandt at EWN

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