I got pricked my a needle today. When the nurse took it out, though, she stuck the sharp into the vinyl exam table before putting it in the sharps box. She stuck it right where someone would conceivably lay down on (she didn’t stick the side of the table).
Umm … that’s a contaminated needle that you just pulled out my arm! What happens if the next patient came in, lay down, and my bodily fluids came squirting back out the table, right into a open wound on the next patient’s back, and that patient contracted both hepatitis and HIV from the fluid (not saying that I have either, but you know, hypothetically)? Granted, HIV doesn’t survive too long outside the body, but hepatitis is somewhat more hardy.
Is this *really *dangerous? Or am I just being paranoid about something that’s standard practice?
The chances of there being enough “bodily fluids” on that needle to contaminate an exam table are vanishingly small, and the chances of there being enough to “squirt out” and contaminate someone else are smaller yet. By the time we multiply out all the probablities here (contaminated needle, contaminated table, open sore on the next patient in a spot which touches just that spot, “squirting” fluids through a literal pinprick hole in the vinyl…) You’ve got to be well under realistic worry probability.
Plus, when you leave, someone should be wiping the table down with a CaviWipe, which kills about everything except cavies.
In other words, there are so many other dirtier surfaces in an office, beginning with the drinking fountain and ending with the telephones, that I think you’re worrying for nothing.
Don’t know for sure, but my guess would be a way to keep the needle secure until she finished with IceQubes treatment and could dump it in the sharps. Kinda old school, we use a one handed retraction device on our sharps, but better than it rolling around.
Maybe not a health hazard yet but it can’t be good for the exam table. A few hundred pokes in the same spot would destroy the covering and expose foam that could absorb fluids. There’s a reason they use vinyl and poking holes in it defeats the purpose. I would call the clinic and ask that this practise be stopped.
Wait, she stuck it into the table on purpose?! That’s weird. I read it as she accidentally stuck the table in the process of doing whatever she was doing with the sharp before it made it to the sharps container.
(Speaking of sharps, did I ever show y’all the teeny tiny Sharps container I made for my home nursing gig? The only sharps I use are diabetes testing lancets, and I didn’t want to carry a big Sharps box. So I made a little one out of an empty test strip container, nail polish and a printed image I taped on with packing tape. It’s even OSHA compliant.:D)