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COVID-19: What should employers do if employed health professionals such as doctors and nurses refuse to treat COVID-19 patients despite being provided with the required personal protective equipment?

D McQuoid-Mason


At some health establishments, doctors and nurses employed there are refusing to treat COVID-19 patients – even when they have been provided with the necessary personal protective equipment. Such conduct would appear to be in breach of the World Medical Association International Code of Medical Ethics, the International Council of Nurses Code of Ethics for Nurses, the Rules of Conduct of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (SA), the SA Nursing Council and some of the provisions of the SA Constitution and of the relevant labour legislation. Guidance is provided to employers on how to deal with the situation based on ethical and legal considerations.

Author's affiliations

D McQuoid-Mason, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2020;13(2):.

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-07-08
Date published: 2020-07-08

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