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RN Student Exposure Concern
Jun 5, 2007

Hi, I'm an RN student, nearly graduated. Weird frightening situation. Observing procedure, told not to glove/gown, MD was staring an IV without gloves, shoved a bloody object into my hand with zero notice. I Left room immediately, washed, alerted charge who sent me back in to disinfect the item with wipes...I was accused of lying about the blood, MD apparently written up before for not wearing gloves was the reason, I think the MD.s exact words were "Who else saw this so called blood?". MD ended up testing pt. for everything, MD said she was 'never promiscuous so MD wasn't worried about not wearing gloves' elderly woman from group home. Did not test me, but had incident report with my contact info. Teacher wasn't sure if she was going to file a report, saying it was long was outraged for me. Told me to contact the hospital health office at the hospital to find out why no one let me know pt.s status. Cautioned me to be 'nice' and hoped they would give me the info. How concerned should I be? I was humiliated (attempted, I should say) by the DR as not having enough experience to know that gloves are needed/not needed. I stood my ground, calm and respectful, but was shocked that this good area Magnet Status hospitals charge nurses were so afraid of the Dr. I need to know what my actual risk was, and how YOU think I can best get the results out of the hospital office, though originally they took my cell and said they would call me with them, indicating a wiliness to share I hope. I have nightmares over it. I'm a single Mom, not involved with anyone and HIV- since the divorce prompted me to test for everything. Only one HIV- sex partner since, now no one. I would be certain this is my only risk. I would really like to know what I should do to best get the info, and how worried I should be about actual risk. Nothing open on my hand, but it was a two inch wide visible streak of fresh blood across my hand. I used the gel on the way out of the room, and used hot soapy water followed by the disinfectant wipes. Gloved for the clean up, obviously. I am a bit concerned that in the moment it took to notice, I might have touched my face or something, you know, it's all going through my head. I noticed a tiny irritation on my hand, possibly from the cleaning and not prior to exposure. Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Amazing (and very alarming) story! Your HIV risk is negligible, but that doesn't excuse the physician's outrageous and unprofessional behavior! This incident needs to be reported. If your teacher or charge nurse isn't going to file a report, you should proceed up the administrative ladder all the way to the hospital CEO. Advise them you plan to report the incident to the medical board, the nursing association and the director of your nursing program. Advise you are considering getting a lawyer and ask for a copy of the hospital's policy and procedures for occupational exposures to blood-borne pathogens (HIV/hepatitis) as well as the policy for universal precautions. My guess is that by doing so, you'll very quickly get a more appropriate response. Demand that your incident report be filed and to be informed of what action is being taken to avoid similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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