Latest blood-testing better than court process
"Legislation would protect ambulance paramedics," May 26
B.C. Provincial Health Officer
Notwithstanding my sincere respect for first responders and the real anxieties that they may face following a significant blood exposure, I (and HIV and hepatitis C experts in B.C.) have advised them, that in our opinion, a better option exists than the measures proposed in the Emergency Intervention Disclosure Act.
There is an alternative to using court processes to secure blood testing of source individuals unwilling to undergo such testing.
If first responders were guaranteed access to the latest in sophisticated PCR (polymerase chain reaction) blood testing, which has the capacity to detect minute quantities of viruses in the blood, they could learn with a high degree of certainty in the same timeframe as the proposed court process, if they had been infected, rather than exposed.
This would also ensure that they had timely post-exposure contact with the most up-to-date medical expertise for assessment, prophylaxis and treatment, if needed.
This measure would serve to protect first responders and their families, and have none of the potential adverse consequences that have been raised by critics of the bill.