Refusal to care for H1N1 patients?

I hope this doesn't become a trend. A recent entry on the Emerging Infections Network listserve describes ICU nurses refusing to care for very sick H1N1 patients, requesting reassignment for fear of contracting the virus. From the listserve responses so far, this appears to be a rare phenomenon, fortunately.

This is an interesting counterpoint to the finding Mike previously highlighted, of healthcare workers suggesting that they would refuse the vaccine! It is often interesting how people perceive risk, and what behaviors they choose to reduce that risk. Education will be key throughout this respiratory virus season—provide healthcare workers with the information and tools they need to protect themselves, and support them fully after any documented exposure. For those with valid concerns about the consequences of H1N1 acquisition (e.g. pregnancy, other high-risk condition), I believe counseling about risk, and case-by-case accommodation (including potential reassignment) is the correct approach.


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