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New surgeon with some questions
Feb 27, 2010

HI dr bob. I have a general question for you. I'm a surgeon and have recently finished my residency training. As I am in the OR a lot I frequently used sharp instruments, needles, blades... Over my career thus far it has happened to me several times where I rub against an instrument accidentally an have thought about whethe ornithology this has posed any risk to my health. I always practice universal precautions and more times than not I think that I overanalyse the situations because for example my hand may brush up against a tool like a forceps and when I look after surgery I do not have any wound but I can't help think that maybe the instrument pricked me enough to put me at risk. This obviously can happen many times to me in a single surgery. Here are my questions for you: do you think I am overanalyzing the situations? I know that If I were to truly prick myself and induce bleeding then I would contact occupational health so this is reassuring to me. I just don't know when I should really be following up with occupational health because I feel like touching sharp instruments when they do not make me bleed is an insignificant exposure if any and I would know if I really put myself at risk by truly feeling my skin being pricked or cut. Is this a fair assessment. I'd really apreciate to hear what you honk about this. Thanks so much. I will donate to your charity for all your help

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello New Surgeon,

Congratulations on finishing your residency!

Regarding your post, you wrote you ". . . rub against an instrument accidentally and have thought about whethe ornithology . . . ." Hmm. Whethe ornithology??? OK, if you say so.

Responding to your specific questions:

1. Yes, you are definitely "overanalyzing." It must be you are harboring some irrational fears of contracting HIV. (You do understand, for instance, your risk for contracting hepatitis is much higher, right?)

2. Yes, if you actually do sustain a needle stick or laceration, you would indeed realize it and should be evaluated by occupational health.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated. If you find it difficult to shake your unwarranted worries, consider getting counseling. It really is beneficial and could help you confront and conquer the problem before it gets worse and starts to affect your career as a "heal with steel" surgeon!

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob



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