Healthcare workers play a crucial role in society. However, their careers have challenges, including safety concerns, and a common one is needlestick injuries – skin-penetrating wounds caused by sharp instruments.
Here is what you need to know about needlestick injuries among healthcare workers.
They occur due to accidents
The use of sharp objects, such as syringes, needles, scalpels, blades, scissors and surgical devices is necessary for medical settings. Healthcare professionals are trained in using these devices safely. However, accidents can happen, resulting in cuts.
Hospitals should protect their workers by providing personal protective equipment, having devices with safety features, training staff frequently, having enough staff per shift and discouraging unnecessary use of sharp objects. Patients should also be encouraged to stay calm as their reactions can lead to an injury.
How are needlesticks dangerous?
Despite being small wounds in most cases, needlesticks are dangerous as they provide an entry for pathogens, particularly when a healthcare provider is exposed to a patient’s blood and body fluids.
Workers with needlesticks are at high risk of blood-borne infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The likelihood of developing an illness may depend on several factors, including the pathogen concentration in blood and body fluids, the number of pathogens transferred, depth of injury and infection phase of the respective pathogen.
What to do after a needlestick?
If you get a needlestick, immediately wash the wound with water and soap and report the injury to a senior for immediate medical treatment.
Needlesticks can affect a healthcare worker’s health and career. If this is your experience, you should learn more about your case to get the compensation you deserve to protect your rights and career.