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I think I was pricked by a needle
Aug 31, 2001

A friend of mine recently had a baby. I was with her at the hospital for a day and a half. I slept in a cot and was by her side when she delivered. I noticed when I was leaving a had a large red welt on the side of my hip. It didn't have a bump like an insect bite and didn't itch. It did feel sore when I touched it. I keep wondering if a loose needle could have been in the cot (I slept in my clothes & had long pants on), I also keep wondering if a needle or something sharp could have pricked me in the delivery room and I didn't realize it. There didn't seem to be any blood. I checked the inside of my pants and the band on my underpants and didn't notice anything but both are dark in color. I had to wait till the end of the weekend to see my doctor so it wasn't as big as it was when I noticed it and he completely brushed it off and said that I would have known if a needle stuck me. A went to another doctor that said anything is possible and to come back in 6 weeks to get an HIV, Hepatitis and Lyme test. I'm going, but I'm so scared. I recently started feeling nauseas, have chest pains and muscle aches. I keep thinking this is the flu like symptoms I read about. Please tell me what you think.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Having been present at a friend's delivery myself, I understand how exciting and draining that experience can be. Good for you for being there! But what an emotional price you're paying because of that welt.

Especially in a delivery environment, the likelihood that a health care professional would leave a used needle on a cot is extrememly low. I'm guessing your hip welt came from bumping into something hard in the excitement and confusion, or that you slept on a metal brace for the cot. I'm with your own physician on this one. The other physician is giving you the way out of panic: a test to confirm that you're fine.

Do you have any evidence that anyone in the room had HIV or hepatitis B? Any evidence of broken skin on your hip? I don't see any of that in your question. Please remember that health care professionals deliver HIV positive women's babies routinely without becoming infected themselves. You were not engaged in any risk behavior, and I agree that you would have known if you'd been stuck by a needle. It would have hurt enough to get your immediate attention. Your second physician is right that anything is possible, but it's not true that anything is probable. If we seriously considered all the awful things that could possibly happen to us each day, we'd never make it out of bed. It's enough to manage the things that are probable.

Your symptoms may indeed be the symptoms of fear. Our minds are so powerful! Go ahead and get the tests. In the meantime, please talk to someone on an AIDS hotline in your area. You can call anonymously, and the person you reach will have had many similar conversations in the past.

Pretty Healthy Working Individual - Happen to be HIV+
possible exposure while having labs drawn at dr's ofice

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