Should I call the hospital about the radiology tech?

While having my IVP done yesterday, I noticed the radiology tech was inserting the needle without wearing gloves.

I thought this a little odd, and mentioned it to him. He shrugged it off, and when I said, “I thought it was for your protection, not mine,” he said, “I don’t have any open cuts on my hands.”

Now granted, he wasn’t doing an invasive surgical procedure, just inserting a needle, but when I donate blood to the Red Cross they wear gloves, and I always thought it was SOP.

The tech was very nice and friendly, and after inserting the needle he did wash his hands, but I’m wondering if I should call the hospital and let them know he wasn’t wearing gloves. I don’t want him to get in trouble, but I am concerned about health safety.

Is it normal for some hospital workers to not wear gloves while performing minor procedures?

some of the Techs from back in the day don’t like wearing gloves.

it is actually more difficult to draw blood with them on.

since, as you said it’d more for their protection, it’s more their risk to take.

I’d call. He is placing himself and every one of the people he works on at risk. That is unacceptable.

He seemed fairly young, maybe late twenties, early thirties.

That is completely against a phlebotomist protocol. In fact in some hospitals it is grounds for dismissal. I worked at a hospital whilst in grad school, and we had to wear gloves for everything, and if you were latex-allergic, we had non-latex gloves…

I’d certainly call! For other people benefit, you were lucky.

I am an RN and I start lots of IV’s. Basic Blood and body fluid precautions state that health care providers should take whatever measure needed to protect themselves against accidental exposure to another body fluids. Most of the time this means gloves but may include masks or gowns as necessary.

Depending on the person’s veins sometimes I will not wear gloves while prepping the site and if it is iffy I will work without gloves if my skin is intact.

Those of us who are health care providers take these measure to protect US from exposure to YOU, not to other way around.

So I guess I am questioning your motivation for wanting to report the tech who apparently provided excellent care to you. You are in no more danger from him starting an IV on you than you are from shaking hands with a stranger.

Thanks, Mermaid. As I stated in my OP, I was not sure if it was SOP for hospital workers not to wear gloves during minor procedures.

My motivation was not to get someone in trouble unless he was in clear violation of hospital procedure. As you explained so succintly, it is not uncommon for needles to be inserted without gloves in certain circumstances.

Since it seems he did nothing untoward, there is no danger for either me or him so I will let the matter drop.

As a home health RN, I draw blood and start IVs on a lot of people
who are “new” to me, meaning that I don’t have access to their lab results. I always ask about any history of hepatitis or other blood-borne diseases, but it’s a crap shoot whether or not I get the real scoop. So I wear gloves. But if I need to palpate an extra difficult vein, I cut the glove tip off of my left index finger. You can feel the vein so much better without gloves. So technically I have broken protocol, but I always explain what I am doing to my patients. So far, no one has complained.

Should you have called the hospital to report the tech? IMHO, I don’t think so.

I haven’t called. As I stated,

I want to thank the hospital workers who posted for putting my mind at ease.

I am quite frankly amazed at how lightly people are treating this matter. It really is a serious mistake and the tech should be fired for not following procedures.

Accidents usually are a chain of events. Somebody at the plant didn’t make something right, the person who installed the part skipped a step, the routine inspections didn’t find a problem, and the next thing you have is a jet engine blade coming off and cutting all the hydraulic lines. Change just one of those and no accident. But all of them together add up to a jet in a cornfield.

You should always assume that all other steps in the chain of the accident are there and if you mess up your little part, pow, someone’s HIV positive.

A lot of hospital infections are caused simply by people not washing their hands between seeing patients. They all think “my hands look clean” and move on, spreading staph. This is scarily like the “I don’t have any open cuts on my hands.” in the OP. How does he know? How does he know he won’t get one while opening something, etc.?

People who think like those shouldn’t be allowed in health care.

Raising the issue with the tech is enough. Potentially ruining someone’s career because they failed to protect themself on one occasion/ to “make an example” is too extreme. Maybe he was inexperienced or preoccupied. I would say this mistake was minor.

Perhaps you can address the issue without getting anyone fired.

Write a letter to the hospital administration explaining the general circumstances, but without mentioning the exact day of your procedure or the name of the tech.

The only problem, of course, is that if you give your name they will quickly be able to work out when, where, who, etc. Yet, if you send an anonymous letter, they may not take it so seriously. Maybe try sending an anonymous letter, explaining that you don’t want to get anyone in trouble or fired, but that if wearing gloves is hospital policy then maybe they need to make a general announcement to all techs, etc.

I understand the risks involved and that people are amazed at the seeming lack of concern. However, being someone who is considered a “hard stick” let me tell you that if a tech has to remove gloves to put an IV in for me, I actually appreciate the effort provided he washes his hands first.

Good plan on deciding not to report the tech. However, the anonymous letter is not a bad idea. The fact that the tech seemed relatively unconcerned when you mentioned it to him bothers me a bit. Had he explained about being able to feel the veins better or something, that would have been better than simply brushing off the concerns.