Health care is about service, not about discrimination
- By: Teresa Pun
The ethics seminar seemed so straightforward at first: “If a patient is having an arterial bleed right in front of you and there are no gloves in sight, what do you do?” After a brief discussion on the importance of barrier precautions, all 20 of us agreed that we would plug the wound with our bare hands.
“What if the patient had AIDS?” Silence. One person tried to shift the responsibility from the medical student to a senior staff member: “Find the resident.” Another student commented, “We can't be expected to put ourselves at risk.” Others insisted that gloves should be easily accessible and that medical students should never be left alone with critical care patients.
Are healthcare students and professionals afraid of AIDS? Will this fear change our response to our patients? And finally, will we discriminate against our patients as a result? We are taught that discriminating against