I Need A Doctor - Sharps

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?

Shameless plug: I also need a doctor or someone with medical knowledge to help me answer this question: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=655022

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.

Why did she do that?

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.

Still bad practice though.

I’m never sitting on an exam table again. It’s going to make paps harder but if they really need to, they’ll make it work.

Similar to jabbing your dagger into the table once you’ve finished slicing off a haunch of meat.

I hate that.

To be fair, she could have just stuck it back into you as a handy placeholder; be glad for small favors.

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.

“No nurse, I said to prick his finger!

“Haunch” “paps” “cavies” “sharps” … the hell are you all talking about!

Screw H.I.V. It’s a filovirus and is remarkably fragile.

On the other hand, were it me, I’d be freaking about Hepatitis.

:eek:

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)

You “sit” on an exam table for paps? :confused:

Hahahahaha!!! Well played!

My powers of levitation fail me when it comes to getting into stirrups.

“Paps” asks nicely.

This is common among ambulance crews also, using the seat as a pincushion. It is not always safe or convenient to prepare the sharps container with only a single hand, or to re-cap the sharp.

As far as I know, there has never been a single case of infection caused by this practice. It’s hell on the upholstery though.

Ah ha! That explains why, when I did a post-op pelvis xray on a guy, there appeared to be a needle in his ass.

There wasn’t. It was actually in the matress pad thing he was lying on (still in the OR).

I’ve never seen anyone do that–use the matress pad or cushion or whatever as a sharps receptacle. I hope they don’t ever do that.

That is a great idea. Much smaller than a soda can. And the reason you did not patent this and make a small fortune selling a medical device is…?