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Very Paranoid..Please
Feb 21, 2005

I am a EMS worker and I am having a very hard time right now. About a week and a half ago I had a very bloody self inflicted stab wounds. I was wearing my gloves and had a jacket on. I got blood on the wrist band of my jacket. I am not sure if it soaked through. I took my jacket off but did not witness any blood on me. I had a small cut on that arm that had a scab but was still rather new and red. I am paranoid about the transmission of HVC an HIV. I am not sure if the pt had either. He did use drugs and tripped out causing this attempt. I have also had a new cut on my finger and cracks in my knuckles from the cold winter. Right after I discared my first set of gloves, I used instant hand sanitizer on my hands and wrist before putting new gloves on. I am very scared! I am just so paranoid right now. It's effecting my work and life. I did not file an exposure because I was told I had nothing to worry about. But I can't stop worrying and thinking what if. Are my chances good of transmission? What should I do to help relieve this paranoid feeling and move on with the life knowing I am ok. Please help, I really need it.

Response from Dr. McGovern

If I understand you correctly, you had a small cut with a scab and had exposure to a victim of trauma with a lot of blood exposure.

The only potential exposure I can understand is a concern that some blood unknowingly touched the area of the cut on your arm despite the fact that you were wearing gloves and a jacket.

I would agree that your risk is nil, but sometimes if your level of anxiety is exceedingly high you may just get the best reassurance with testing. However, again from what you describe, I do not think you are at risk.

You are in a profession where you will have additional potential exposures in the future so you may want to get further counseling about infection control issues and personal protection precautions. You have a stressful occupation, and if you need further counseling and testing to relieve your anxiety, I would talk to your employer about this further. Good luck to you. Your profession is one to be admired. I wish you the best. Dr. McGovern



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