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needlestick injury
Nov 13, 2009

I am so sorry to bother you with this... I work in an ICU and about a month ago I was drawing a blood sample from a patient's arterial line using a tuberculin syringe. I was wearing non-latex gloves, inserted the needle, could not get a sample, and while reinserting the needle, I felt a prick...I missed the port access device. There was no visible blood on the syringe, and I poked myself on the side of my middle finger; there was no blood but I could see where the needle indented my skin. I washed my hands immediately. I am beside myself because I recently read how a resident at Yale became infected with HIV after such a stick. The patient's blood that I was exposed to was a 48yr mother who had a brain aneurysm and was unresponsive (she basically had no risk factors for exposure in her life), which is why I failed to report it. This is very embarrassing for me. My questions are: 1. Should I be seriously concerned about exposure to HIV? 2. Are there anonymous testing agencies out there? 3. What would be the repercussions if I report this to occupational health now?

Thank you for your time and expert opinion.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

1. Nope.

2. Yes, some, depending on where you live. You can also use the Home Access Express test kit. It's FDA approved and anonymous.

3. There would be no repercussions. They would fill out an incident report and arrange for follow-up HIV testing (three months and six months). I encourage anyone who has sustained a potential occupational exposure to report and document the incident so that he can be appropriately evaluated, managed, and, if needed, treated with PEP.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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