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ER worker scared!!
Aug 30, 2008

I am an ER tech/Nursing student and I work in the ER. Part of my responsibility is to clean instruments after they had been used for removing, sutures or whatever instruments that are not disposable. My question is, these instruments are placed in a water/disinfectant solution after the use on a patient I had poked myself with a pair of scissors that had been used ,but had been in the water with the other instruments well over 8 hours. What would my chances be on contracting HIV from poking myself with these scissors? I didn't see any blood on the instruments, but im not sure how long ago the solution was made or if it was even mixed properly. Im really scared. The infection control nurse has me freaking out.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

Your risk would depend on a lot of factors. If the instruments were in disinfected for 8 hours (and depending on the depth of the injury, what the likelihood of having HIV+ patients in the ER, etc), my guess it that your risk is very, very low.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't stop there, but rather report the incident to your student health group, so that any usual procedures following a possible exposure to any blood-borne pathogen is followed.

I hope this helps,

BY



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