Conflicts Over Post-Exposure Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus: Can Negotiated Settlements Help?
Asch, David A.
Patton, James P.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1994 Feb; 19(1): 41-59.
Health care workers with needlestick exposures to patients' blood often request a test of the patient for evidence of infection with human immunodeficiency virus. If the patient refuses the test, a conflict develops between the interests of the health care worker and those of the patient. Traditional approaches to this dilemma attempt to balance the rights or utilities of abstract patients and health care workers. While these approaches have the advantage of offering clear guidelines in advance of conflict, the interests of the actual participants may differ from those used to create the guidelines. In nonmedical settings, conflicts are often resolved efficiently through negotiation and monetary exchanges. Although negotiated monetary settlements between health care workers and patients may be an impractical way to resolve medical conflicts, models developed from these perspectives provide insights into the individual interests of physicians and patients. Changing existing rules about medical record documentation, or increasing the penalties for the misuse of medical information, may satisfy the interests on both sides of the conflict and so represent integrative bargaining solutions. Even so, as the relationship between health care workers and their patients evolves, more explicit strategies for negotiation may become a reasonable solution to the problem of conflict.
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