Working in healthcare has numerous risks that you are most likely aware of. You can strain your back lifting patients. You might be subjected to the bullying atmosphere that’s so common in the nursing field. As our team at the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., understands, you and other Iowa healthcare employees can also face grave consequences if you accidentally stick yourself with a needle that was used on a patient.
As Web MD explains, getting stuck with a used needle can expose you to numerous viruses or bacterial illnesses. These include HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, shingles, and other diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that about 385,000 workers in the U.S. healthcare system are accidentally stuck each year. Your chances of getting sick after a needle stick are relatively small. Even so, about one out of 300 healthcare workers are infected with HIV during accidental needle sticks.
You might reduce your chances of this happening to you by using a clean needle for each new patient and working slowly and patiently. Don’t recap the needle after using it, understand the safety features and procedures for the equipment and dispose of the needle in an approved sharps container – not in the trash, where you or a sanitation worker could be poked later.
If you get a needle stick, it is important to wash the injury immediately with soap and running water, report the incident and see your doctor. As our page explains, workers’ compensation should cover the expenses related to your treatment when you take the proper steps to report an injury.