Monday, June 11, 2007

//Opinion// Nurses in trouble

Time is running out for five Bulgarin nurses and a Palestinian doctor who was sentenced to death by Libyan authorities for deliberately infecting up to 400 children with AIDS.

The medical workers have been in custody since 1999, after being sentenced to death row in 2004 and in an appeal in 2006. EU officials led by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also the German foreign minister is leading an international appeal to free the medical workers.

Will Libyan authorities give in to the appeal?

Being a nurse myself, it's pretty hard to imagine infecting as many as 400 children with a blood-borne disease like AIDS, unless all of them received the same AIDS-tinged blood. Perhaps if you use the same scalpel on as many mothers in-labor without disinfecting it after every use, then there might be a chance you could infect 100 perhaps? But 400? Unlike a staphylococcal infection, AIDS isn't easily transmitted through infected objects we pass around. That's why it can only be transmitted through blood transfusions, blood-tinged scalpels or needles, and sexual contact.

The Independent reports that AIDS had been rampant in the Libyan community even before the nurses even began working there. So, I'm very curious about how these medical workers were tried, if they received a fair trial at all.

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