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February 12, 1992

HIV-Infected Surgeons

Author Affiliations

John Marshall Law School Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1992;267(6):804-805. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480060049018

To the Editor.  —Public concern about HIV-infected physicians continues to increase. Few cases have reached the courts, but more are likely in the future. Physicians need to be aware of the recent Behringer case1 as hospitals start to restrict the clinical privileges of HI Vinfected physicians.Behringer is a trial court decision in which a surgeon claimed the hospital unjustly suspended his operating privileges. The court decided that the restriction was justified because of the severe prognosis of HIV infection and the possibility of transmission during invasive procedures. Within the long opinion, the judge pontificated about a proposed informed consent that included disclosing the physician's diagnosis to patients. In extensive dicta, the court endorsed this novel concept of informed consent.The AMA2 and the CDC3 suggest a role for consent in procedures that may carry a risk of HIV transmission to patients. Like the dicta in Behringer