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Heathcare Providers And High Risk Patients Essay

4377 words - 18 pages

Heathcare Providers and High-Risk Patients

A case that was never heard by a court

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Article 1, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Humanity is yet to face a global epidemic of HIV/AIDS

if it fails to join efforts against the disease

Lars O. Kallings, the UN Secretary General's Special

Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe.

We are all born equal in dignity and rights - at least this is what we
believe in. How come our "equality" remains mainly on the paper? How
come some people enjoy all the benefits of modern life and the latest
achievements of the science, while others are obliged to live in
hunger, poverty, homelessness, discrimination, and to be exposed to
inadequate health care? Are the changes a human body (and sometimes
mentality) undergoes during the life to be blamed? If yes, why? If no,
what or who is to be blamed then?

While I am not going to answer all those questions above, my main task
is to focus on the example of the attitude of health-care providers
towards high-risk patients; in particular, patients with HIV/AIDS. To
my attention came a case of a young pregnant woman, who was denied
access to both state and private health care institutions in the
Republic of Georgia. I would like to analyze this case from the
perspective of both national and international health laws showing how
the decisions of those health institutions conflict with the ethics
and laws.

Let us first listen to the person whose problem is to be examined. She
is a 28 year old Georgian woman, who had not been informed about her
positive HIV status until the late stage of pregnancy. In the
interview with a medical doctor from AIDS and Clinical Immunology
Research Center of Georgia[1] she said:

The fact that my husband and I are HIV infected came to our knowledge
during my pregnancy in 2002. The fetus was already too big and I could
not undergo an abortion. My doctor made all efforts to help me to
maintain a healthy fetus: conducted antiretroviral therapy in the
pre-delivery period, and explained to me that in order to ensure
minimum risk to my child a caesarian section would be necessary.
However, prior to the operation we faced the fact that no hospital in
the city agreed to accept me for the caesarian section. I cannot
describe how the whole family of mine felt about that… When you know,
that there is a chance and it is out of your ability to grasp this
chance... Moreover, these are doctors who oppose you, when the same
doctors must devote their whole energy to saving the life! I would cry
and reiterate 'Why cannot I have the operation? Why cannot I?' I had
to deliver my child myself, at home, in a big fear and hopelessness.
Fortunately, God saved us, and our child is healthy. I cannot imagine

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