|A worried doctor
Sep 30, 2008
While on night duty, I was asked to cannulate a patient, who was inpatient for management of hepatic encephalopathy due to chronic excessive alcohol intake. I do not know about her HIV/HCV/HBV status as I did not check in her notes. She was emaciated, however her encephalopathy was probably improving. I was not informed by the nursing staff about any infection risk such as HBV/HCV/HIV.
I tried to cannulate and I had patient's blood on my gloves. I am not 100% sure but it's likely that I did scratch my left post auricular area while wearing those gloves. That area was itchy for few weeks (on & off) and I could feel some uneven skin there. It was very likely due to either shave or use of spectacles. No active bleeding, but I did notice some serous fuid oozing from that area in the past.
Anyways after the possible touching with gloves (I honestly can't remember exactly as it was I think 3AM and I focused a lot on patient's difficult venous access), I wiped the area with alcohol strip and no blood was noted on the strip.
As I do not know the patient's infectious disease status & I do not remember her name, so can not check her results now, would you advise any HIV/HCV/HBV testing beyond 6 months after the episode? I am planning to get checked for HIV/HCV and HBV upto 6 months, but I need advice if any further testing is indicated beyond 6 months. I received Hep. B vaccination in the past and then had a booster in 2004. My Anti HBV antibodies were >100 in 2004 implying good vaccine response.
Thanks for your help.
Response from Dr. McGovern
I would only recommend testing out to six months as recommended by your employee health service. You should always review any kind of exposure with EHS for proper guidance.
SVR and moderate drinking
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