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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Jul;83(7):1028-30.

Ethical concerns in isolating patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on the rehabilitation ward: a case report.

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Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.


Concern about methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasing in rehabilitation facilities. Those affected are often isolated to prevent the spread of MRSA to other patients. Because this isolation often interferes with the traditional rehabilitative approach, rehabilitation team members find themselves in an ethical dilemma as to how to approach these patients. Some patients may feel that strict isolation protocols violate their rights. We report a case showing the ethical dilemmas that an MRSA-positive patient brings to the rehabilitation setting. Isolation techniques make it difficult to treat rehabilitation patients using the current standards of care without compromising the medical ethics principles of autonomy and beneficence. Further study is required to establish protocols for patients with MRSA in the rehabilitation setting.

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