Worried medical student please help!
Jan 30, 2010
Hey doctor I hope you can help me because I am going crazy here. I am a third year medical student and i was in doing ward rounds with the senior doctor I was asked to take a patient blood pressure. I didnt wear any gloves, I took his BP and noticed that i touched some blood (it was dry because when i looked at my fingers there wasnt any blood on my fingers) anyways I washed my hands.
Same thing happened AGAIN with a different patient, checked my finger I didnt have any cuts (not that I know of) plus the blood wasnt fresh because i looked at my hands and i didnt have any blood on them.
Both patients were hiv positive. I am trying to be rational here and I know that i couldnt have catched anything as there was no blood in my hand. However whats making me paranoid is that I had a fever which went away after a couple of days and i been feeling extremely tired lately.
Do you think I should be tested?
I never been so scared in my life doctor, I spoke to my mentor and he said I am at no risk. People are acting as if i am crazy lol. I keep thinking that maybe i didnt see the blood going in, I dont know..
I mean maybe I am paranoid but do I have any reason to be? What do you think?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hello Third-Year Med-Stud.,
You may indeed be "trying to be rational," but I assure you that you are not succeeding. Your fears are completely unwarranted. I agree with your mentor: no risk!
HIV is not your problem, but I do think you have a medical problem that does warrant attention: irrational fear of HIV. Please note your problem is "fear," not HIV. This type of irrational fear could inhibit your career in medicine if it is not dealt with now. I urge you to seek psychotherapy (counseling) to help you confront and conquer these irrational fears. Let untreated, they can and often do worsen. (Check the archives for lots of examples!)
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