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nurse exposure
Mar 18, 2011

I started an iv on a patient that was HIV + without gloves on (i didn't realize she was until after the fact). Some blood leaked out of her iv and I wiped it off with guaze when I did, but didn't see any viasable blood on my hands, which I did wash immediatly after starting the IV. I don't have any cuts on the bottom of my hands, but do have a couple of old paper cuts on the top of my hands, and a broken cuticle on my last finger. I am also 13 weeks pregnant.I know I should use gloves when in contact with all patients, but I cannot feel veins with the gloves on, so I usually don't.

How high is my risk? Should I seek medical care?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

All occupational exposures, or potential occupational exposures, should be reported to the occupational health division. The incident will be documented and the health care worker will be thoroughly evaluated. Decisions regarding the need for HIV and hepatitis screening and/or post-exposure prophylaxis will then be made.

I cannot thoroughly evaluate your occupational risk over the Internet, as I can't examine the paper cuts, broken cuticle, etc. Also, additional information about the source patient would be helpful (HIV plasma viral load, use of antiretrovirals, etc.). From the limited information provided, your HIV risk would be extremely remote. However, I'd still advise reporting it.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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