Thank You, Albany: Verbal HIV Consents

We’ll file this under “Better Late Than Never”: As of September 1, in New York State, I only require the verbal–not written–consent of a patient for HIV testing. What a godsend. And if I get stuck with a needle, and the patient is dead or comatose, I can also test them for HIV as well. Fantastic law, and it’s about time. The written consents were Yet Another Piece of Paper (YAPAP) to get lost in or separated from the chart. I often found that patients never read the attached “fact sheet” about HIV and HIV testing, either.

Next on my list: similarly severe assault sentences for Paramedics and Emergency Department staff. (We currently have mandatory jail time for transit workers, but not for emergency workers–I view us as just as “public” a good as transit workers.) Perhaps yesterday’s tragic shooting will shine a little needed light on the issue.

  1. #1 by JR - September 17th, 2010 at 21:51

    Graham, this actually exists for EMS workers already. Assaulting EMT or Paramedic in NYS is second degree assault (a felony), same as assaulting a police officer. Very rarely however does the D.A. pursue this change and usually allow them to plea to misdemeanor assault. ED staff are not afforded the same protection in the NYS penal code.

  2. #2 by J. DeLaughter - September 18th, 2010 at 18:22

    In some hospitals (and it may be related to local/state laws) that put consent for HIV testing (and other forms of tests) in the general ED treatment consent. My shop has such a general consent, so no additional consent needed. Much nicer than when in residency, where every patient we wanted/needed to test required separate consent (of course, to be done by the physician, since this was residency).

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