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Lone Star

Should People With Infectious Diseases Be Allowed in EMS?

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I did some research and found out some very distressing news.

I found out that people that are infected with HIV, HAV, HBV, and HCV, TB and other potentially deadly infectious diseases are NOT prevented from entering the EMS field.

Personally, I disagree with this entire thought process, but it seems that those individuals rights are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and I also found out that there is no statute that requires the infected EMT to inform his patients that they may have been put at risk.

I was further told that to prevent these individuals from entering the EMS field, would amount to a successful discrimination suit.

Looking at this situation in a logical manner, one would think that with the risk of coming in contact with sharp edges at an MVA call is quite high, and one way these viruses are transmitted is through contact with the infected persons blood.

We are 'protected' in a fashion, by having the hospital test the patient to see if we have been potentially exposed, but the reverse isn't true.

Further, I believe that any person who knows that they are infected with any infectious disease should NOT enter a field where they can potentially infect the patient, and if they are infected from exposure in the field, they should be responsible enough to remove themselves from the health care field, to prevent accidental spreading of the disease.

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Isn't this just common sense?

I seem to recall an old adage "First, do no harm"

Seems like someone with HIV or Hep-c or Hep-b could be a nightmare.

I have excema on my fingers. This causes the skin around the excema to split open and bleed slightly. I always covered those with liquid skin and then bandages and then gloves so I know the patient was protected.

I was more worried about patient to me versus me to patient infections but I was never 100% positive that I was completely protected.

Here is my list of conditions that either preclude you from working in EMS or would require you to sit out until you are better.

HIV(preclude)

Hep a - sit out till better

All the other heps - precludes you from workin in EMS

TB - precludes you from working

Ebola (if you survive you can work again) ha ha ha

That's just my starting list

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The first thing we are taught is DO NO HARM.

How often are you ever cut on scene? It is possible to do but does not happen very often. I would think that if they where to get cut that the ER could test the pt for what ever they have.

I am torn between if they should or not. We do not want these people working around our kids, food, or anything. On the other hand if they are healthy enough most do not qualify for any assistance. I know a Infectious Disease doctor and we was talking about this.She said that if a person with HIV takes care of him or her self and takes meds like they are suppose to then they are very healthy. There are some people who was HIV pos and with the right treatment are now testing negative and would be very hard to give someone the disease.

I guess it depends on how safe they where and would have to be watched and made sure they where on good meds and trying to protect themselves and others.

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I still think that someone with HIV should not be working in EMS. The risk is there however slim like brock said.

Can you imagine the liability that an employer would face from the patient if a caregiver passed hiv, hep b, hep a or c or any other infectious disease to a patietn?.

What about the restaurants who'se employee passed on Hep A to 100 or 500 patrons.

Employers simply cannot accept that form of liability.

Think of the personal liability to you as a person if you were hiv positive or hep b or whatever and you passed the disease on to a patient.

There are just some diseases that people have that automatically should preclude them from working in EMS.

But then that's also my opinion.

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I agree Ruff. The service would be out of business if that happened. I think that there should better schooling and programs to help people with these disease processes so they can work.

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Not only that Ruff, but someone with HIV is by definition immuno-compromised. I'm healthy as a horse and still acquired a MRSA infection somehow. It was painful and uncomfortable, but I can only imagine how bad it would be for someone with a compromised immune system.

I'm torn about Hep B and Hep C. While I agree them bleeding on someone could transmit the virus, in my own experience I just haven't seen that many people bleeding onto their patients. But you still present a valid argument.

TB I'm all in favor of. Active TB should not be allowed on an ambulance.

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I don't think a history of Hep B or C should preclude you as long as you test clear for "non-contagious"... didn't know that was possible, but apparently it is.

AIDS/HIV? Nope. Go spend time with your family, volunteer at the library... don't engage in any activity where you have a high likelihood of exposing someone to it.

TB? Hells no... until you have a negative 2 step skin test and clear chest X rays....

Wendy

CO EMT-B

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Lone: I know why you decided to post on this subject and I agree with you totally!!! A person who is infected should be responsible enough to take themselves out of the position of harming a patient not to mention the rest of his or her crew. The person that brought this subject to your attention stated that he or she just needed to be very careful, well as far as I am concerned it's not possible to be "very careful" in the EMS field. The person stated that his or her squad had rip proof gloves. I have NEVER heard of rip proof gloves for one and for two even if there are rip proof gloves out there, the blood in your hands is not the only blood that can contaminate another person. A person in the field can cut any part of their body at an MVA scene or be hit in the nose by a combative patient. Gloves don't stop the spread!!! I feel that if the government is not going to take action and ask these people to step down from their position it should at least enforce a law making it mandatory for the infected person to inform his or her squad and the people that he or she work with on a daily basis.

I understand wanting to help people for a living, however an infected person is putting people in more potential danger then they are doing them good. A person with an infectious disease should not be working in the field where the potential for contamination is high, they should be working at a center for HIV or as a councilor helping other people with infectious diseases.

The person that brought this subject to your attention was almost bragging about the fact that he or she was infected and still working in the field and i feel this is reckless and unprofessional. I just hope that these posts will convince any infected EMS personal to step out of the field and into a job that is more suited to their health issues.

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How would you feel being a patient having someone with an infectious disease working on you...... enough said

99.9999999% of the time the patient will not know that you are infected. Just like the majority of time we won't know that they are infected.

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