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Is it legal to run a Rapid HIV test on a patient without their consent?

Vancouver, WA |

Hi, I work in a medical laboratory in Washington State. Without going into specific details about the patient. Is it legal for a hospital to run a Rapid HIV test on a patient without their consent when dealing with an exposure?? I questioned the procedure and was told by management that it was okay. I did some research and found nothing saying it was legally standing for a hospital to order and run a HIV test on a patient without their consent. I appreciate your time and effort. Thank you

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Attorney answers 4


Generally a release needs to be signed by you the patient before any test like this is done, you may want to check out this link regarding HIPPA:

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A patients consent is always needed for testing with very few exceptions such as the patient being unconscious and needing immediate care b

Norman Antonio Stiteler

Norman Antonio Stiteler


It is worth pointing out here that this is being done after an accidental exposure of an employee, probably what is termed a needle stick. In these situations the response is often to immediately begin a course of anti-virals that can be extremely hard on the recipient. In these circumstances hospital protocols may include performing the fast HIV to determine if the course of treatment is needed. The test results are ordered by a physician and are highly confidential. In, addition, these protocols are generally considered to be an acceptable response to these events. So you will probably not have much luck on a law suit.


It is generally not legal to run tests on a patient without their consent.


Consent is typically required, with exceptions.

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