|needle stick risks from HIV positive patient
Jun 23, 1998
While taking care of a patient in the hospital, I was drawing blood using a butterfly needle (a very small needle connected to a flexible catheter). After discarding the needle in the sharps container and walking back to the patients bedside, I noticed blood underneath my glove on my middle finger. When removing the glove, I felt a sting. There was no further blood noted. I washed my hands, checked my finger for a hole or cut, but there was nothing. I did NOT FEEL a needle stick, but there was blood on my finger under the glove. What are my chances of getting HIV, because the patient is in fact HIV positive?
| Response from Ms. Breuer
The odds of HIV infection from the kind of experience you describe are extremely low. For your own peace of mind, I encourage you to see your own health care provider right away for baseline tests. If you do not have documentation of your present HIV status, you would have difficulty claiming a worker's compensation injury in the unlikely event that you were to seroconvert. Also, you should be checked for possible exposure to hepatitis C; you may not have known the patient's hepatitis C status. The blood underneath the glove is what encourages me to encourage you to get follow-up. But remember that seroconversion under the circumstances you describe would be extremely unlikely. Please go right away, for your own medical and legal sake.
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