Why the 9 months delay?

I’ve been rather horrified by the news story today about the DoD delaying informing soldiers until 9 months after they first knew that the soldiers could have been exposed to blood-borne infections such as HepC and HIV.

I’ve also been waiting for one single news story on the matter to point out that it’s not just the soldiers at risk, it’s also the sexual partners of every single one of those soldiers over the last 9 months, some of whom may end up infected when that could so easily have been avoided by timely notification. So far I’ve seen nothing even mentioning the possibility, except a few comments to news stories online (and those only mentioned wives).

That the high command have a habit of contemptuously overruling advice from their medical personnel is one of the stories going around; the counter-story is that the DoD health services have been under investigation for some time for serial mismanagements. Apparently the initial alert that was issued last week was taken down from the intranet this week due to concerns about a PR backlash: could they not see that taking it down like that is going to give them even worse PR for endangering personnel who may not have logged on while the alert was available online?

Either way it sounds like the system needs a shakeup. The DoD may not be liable to being sued by military personnel for injuries sustained during their terms of service. I bet they’ll find themselves liable for recklessly endangering those sexual partners who were not military personnel though, should any of them be so unfortunate as to have become infected.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, health, medicine

Tags: , ,

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