September #39 : You Can’t Touch This - by Scott Hess

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Talking 'Bout Their Generation

Youth to Youth

Bargaining Power

Growing Up in Public

Liver Worst

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Blood Lines


To the Editor

And on the 7th Day...

In the Sack

Vertex Vortex

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You Can’t Touch This

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Valuable Kitchen Tool

Better Safe Than Sushi

The Heart of the Matter

To C or Not to C

The Circle Game

Youth on Drugs


Making the Grade

Finger on the Pulses

Fountain of Youth

Where to find it

Reality Check


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 1998

You Can’t Touch This

by Scott Hess

Doc rubs nurse wrong way

Hands off!” said a Richmond, Virginia, nurse who recently received $35,000 in damages after a doc prepping a patient with HIV copped a feel. “The doctor just up and wiped his hands on me,” said nurse Katherine Kenny. According to his lawyer, John Fitzpatrick, surgeon Alfred Gervin, MD, got miffed when nurse Kenny told him to wear gloves during a pre-op surgery exam, so he rubbed her arms to make a point about casual contact. “Her tone implied, ‘You’re treating a leper.’ That upset him,” said Fitzpatrick, adding that there was “no blood, no exposure.”

The nurse, however, said body fluids were present. Kenny, who asked for $1.3 million in damages from a Virginia circuit court—and who has since tested negative—said she was simply doing her job as a circulating nurse at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital. “Dr. Gervin ignored hospital policy. It didn’t matter whether the patient was HIV positive,” she said. Gervin, who plans to appeal, has since resigned from the college.

CDC guidelines for medical workers say gloves are a must if there is a possibility of exposure to body fluids or blood; skip ’em when touching intact skin. Fitzpatrick said nurse Kenny nabbed the cash because “it’s an AIDS patient, so the jury all cringes.”

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