Re: Deadly Communicable Disease
Randy Moyers 1355 6051 (moyersrl@PLHP002.COMM.MOT.COM)
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 15:51:52 -0500
I find it interesting that many other matters that are NOT of life and death
consequence create much more controversy on the list than this has. I don't
know if that is attributable to the political nature of this disease and the
constant indoctrination we all experience about it, or if it is simply a
consensus. I also want to point out that my comments apply to Hepatitis-B and
any other incurable, deadly, communicable pathogen.
This is a very difficult and troubling question. The rights of the HIV+ boy
have been very well represented, but no one has addressed the rights of the
non-HIV+ children. In reading the posts, I have seen many worthwhile comments
and would like to discuss some of them further.
Alan pointed out that privacy laws require the HIV+ student to notify only the
principal and nurse. That requirement is at least partially because the nurse
is the one expected to administer care/first aid to the student and therefore
has a RIGHT to know. The patient forms for most physicians (at least the ones
with which I am familiar) question the HIV status of the patient. The doctor
takes all the standard precautions, but still requests this information before
administering care. This is partly to provide medical background for the basis
of treatment, but it is also to provide for the safety of the doctor and
personnel in his office. In this case we are expecting the scouts and leaders
to accept this responsibilty. Do they have any less right to know simply
because they are not registered health professionals? Yes, the HIV+ person has
a right to privacy. That right is not the only consideration. That right needs
to be balanced and weighed against the rights of others. Should the HIV+ person
be required to tell the troop. I honestly don't know.
Cliff pointed out that professional sports handles this situation and Roger
mentions that police and other emergency personnel deal with it as well. We
need to remember that we are dealing with children. We can teach them, but I
don't think we can expect them to maintain the same level of vigilance as adult
professionals. I liked, and agree with, Jonah's analogy to trust and scouts
handling knives. We can teach and preach but someone will eventually get cut.
They are kids. They will do stupid things. We're adults and WE do stupid
things, and after all they are OUR kids. 8^) I also don't think it is rational
to expect these kids to stop someone from administering treatment in an
improper fashion. I hope everyone has seen the video of Greg Louganis (Olympic
Gold Medalist in diving for the USA several years back). He suffered a nasty
scalp wound during the competition (they bleed profusely, especially when wet).
He and his coach knew he was HIV+, and they both stood by and watched the
tournament physician treat him without gloves or any other protective gear! Yes
we are all more aware today than we were then, but when you factor in fear and
Jeff questions the frequency of serious injury. I don't think that is the only
thing we should be talking about. We should be talking about the possibility of
blood being passed from one person to another. I see kids bleed quite
frequently in our unit. Scratches, splinters, insect bites, minor cuts all
involve bleeding. How often do children scratch a mosquito bite until it
bleeds? Pick at a scab? Pop a pimple? Gross each other out with an ugly sore?
If you don't think it is often I suggest you watch your kids a little more
closely. Any time someone is bleeding the possibility exists for their blood to
find it's way onto someone else. Professional sports require a player to leave
the field of play immediately if they are bleeding. Can we expect kids to stop
playing and run to us for first aid every time they suffer a minor cut or
scrape? I know they face some of these same dangers at school and everywhere
else, but they need to be considered.
Before people get up in arms about this I want to say that I am NOT advocating
exclusion of HIV+ kids from the program. In the final analysis I think that I
too would take the course that Alan's unit did and allow them to join. It could
be treated as an incentive to beef up your medical training/supplies
(surreptitiously of course), and the kids need to learn to deal with this
issue. I guess that sometimes I just feel the need to balance out discussions
on these types of matters. The rights of the few are important and need to be
protected, but they are not the ONLY consideration and DO need to be balanced
with the rights of others.
I have replaced my polypropolene underwear with my flameproof pair, so let fly!
I only request that you flame me quickly since asbestos is rather scratchy. 8^)
CC, WEBELOS Leader, Outdoor Activity Chair Pack 281
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South Florida Council
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