Chat Time: Thursdays @ 9:00 pm
Facilitator: Cara Henri
A dental assistant is working with a dentist in the examination of a new patient. The patient has a severely abscessed tooth and will require extensive root canal work. As the assistant prepares for the invasive procedure, the patient mentions that his partner has recently died of AIDS and that he, too, has AIDS. The assistant freezes. He is afraid of getting infected with the AIDS virus.
_No, he cannot refuse to assist the patient. There are many state and federal antidiscrimination statutes to protect patients from being refused service because of their sex, race, gender, socioculture status, or health status. The only exception to this would be if the patient posed a “direct threat” to the health of the provider that could not be eliminated by modifications such as wearing gloves, masks, etc. In the case of this patient with AIDS, there is no direct risk to the assistant, as the use of standard personal protective equipment (PPE) can easily and thoroughly protect the provider from exposure to the AIDS virus. Even in the unlikely event that there are no repercussions to the assistant for refusal of treating this patient from his place of work or the state, the patient would be within his rights to sue both the assistant and the healthcare facility for discrimination, and would almost certainly win such a case._
What role would risk management play in this case? Explain. _Risk management would definitely have a role to play in this scenario. One of the main purposes of risk management is to eliminate potential problems that could result in large losses of capital to the healthcare facility. In this case, the patient could bring a lawsuit against the facility and the assistant if he or she were to refuse service to the patient due to the patient’s health status. This would not only result in a large loss of capital through the outcome of...