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Doctor Re-using Needles??
Feb 16, 2001

Hi. In some of my visits to my family doctor, sometimes, I noticed that sometimes he had a suture needle ( together with the thread ) in a kidney shaped bowl filled with a ruby red solution. It had never bothered then until a few months ago, when I read from somewhere that a doctor ( or was it a dentist ) had transmitted HIV to his patients when he re-used his suture needles, keeping it dipped in antimicrobial solutions in between patients. This has caused my great disturbance because I had once had a growth removed by that doctor about 5 years ago and of course, my wound was closed with a suture needle. However, I cannot be sure if his suture needle was straight out its wrappings or a 'recycled' one. I felt like marching into his office and asking for an explanation, but all I know is, if he is indeed re-using a recycled needle, he would surely deny it. What shall I do ? Is the ruby red solution , whatever it is, good enough to kill HIV ? I am pretty worried and I hope that you can give me some advice.

Response from Mr. Kull

Unfortunately, I do not have enough information to determine what your doctor's practices are. But let me make a suggestion: instead of imagining the worst case scenario and causing a stink at your doctor's office, try talking with him about your concerns in a clear, direct, and diplomatic manner. People do not like to be confronted, especially a trained professional. Confrontation encourages defensiveness. Give your doctor the benefit of the doubt and the chance to respond to your concerns.

RMK



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