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Needle Stick Injuries Occur Even With Precautionary Measures

Needle StickDespite extensive data surrounding the hazards of needle stick injuries, as well as exemplary precautionary measures, these types of injuries still occur. Also known as sharps injuries, needle stick injuries transmit infectious diseases and create psychological trauma. Health care workers are the most at risk, but other at-risk occupations include those working in dental offices, prisons, and waste disposal venues. Accidental punctures potentially pass hazardous fluids into the body through the skin, often creating life-threatening injuries.

A Common Occurrence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 385,000 health care providers experience a sharps injury each year, and half go unreported. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) attributes many of these injuries to the fast-paced, understaffed, and stressful environment of many medical offices.

Unlike many other careers, health care professionals are unable to take a break, leading to fatigue, frustration, and even anger. When these negative feelings arise, accidents happen. Although needle stick injuries make a significant portion, sharps injuries encompass any penetrating stab wound that potentially results in the transfer of blood or other body fluid.

Sharps include tools such as:

  • Scalpels;
  • Lancets;
  • Razor blades;
  • Metal wire;
  • Scissors;
  • Pins; and
  • Staples.
Worst Case Scenario

Although infection is possible, the primary concern is the transmission of a blood-borne virus or infectious disease, such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. However, many other disorders stem from sharps injuries due to the transmission of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. A few of these illnesses include:

  • West Nile Virus;
  • Malaria;
  • Syphilis;
  • Herpes;
  • Diphtheria;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Toxoplasmosis; and
  • Staph.
Take Care of Yourself First

If you have a needle stick or sharps injury, it is important to notify your employer and a medical professional immediately. If medical help is not available, consider the following steps:

  • Do not touch the wound with bare hands or unsterilized materials;
  • Run the injury under cold water to allow the blood to flow freely, then clot;
  • Use soap or antiseptic liquid to clean the wound;
  • Pat the area dry and allow to dry thoroughly; and
  • Cover the wound with a clean dressing.
Get Assistance

Workers' compensation benefits would cover medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages if you experienced an injury while at work. Often, these benefits are not enough to cover the total cost of the damages incurred, including potential permanent injury. A San Jose workplace injury attorney can help recover the financial loss. The attorneys at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. understand the physical and emotional effects a devastating injury causes. Our experienced lawyers will dedicate their knowledge and skill to researching the details of your case and holding all negligent parties responsible for their actions. Call (408) 289-1417 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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