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Needle stick and Hepatitis C patient..nerve wracking

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by nabeya, Jul 29, 2006.

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  1. nabeya

    nabeya Senior Member

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    Well I'm a MS4 and yesterday during a c-section that I was assisting, I got stuck with a 0-Vicryl needle by the scrub tech while the surgeon was closing up. The patient is a known carrier of Hep C. I know there is only a 2.8% chance of contracting the disease through a needlestick from the CDC website, but I'm telling you that the paranoia is not a good feeling, especially having to wait for 12 weeks to get rechecked after yesterdays baseline labs.
    The needle hit the top of my hand, I was double gloved and it didnt really bleed at all until after 2-3 min after I had scrubbed out and gone to wash my hands. It was just a small drop of blood (from me, not the source). The scrub tech says that needle hadn't been used inside the pt yet, but I'm not going to take her word for it especially since I could've sworn the needle had just been used to close some fascia.

    Anybody else get stuck by a Hep C suture needle and have an experience to share? This sucks...
  2. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member

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    Good luck. Does your attending or resident know this happened? I would try to get some more clarification (especially on needle counts, etc.)? Sounds like you're doing the right thing by going ahead and getting labs, etc. I hope everything works out well for you.
  3. It's likely she had more than one 0-vicryl, as they often use two and tie them together (and, depending on the surgery, she probably had several others for the actual procedure). I doubt she would lie to you about something so serious. If it hadn't been used in the patient yet, then don't worry about it. I got stuck with a needle from a patient with Hep C, but it hadn't been used yet. I didn't bother to get any labs done, but when I got stuck again a year and a half later (someone hit my while I was helping close :mad: ), they made me go down. Needless to say, I was perfectly fine.
  4. nabeya

    nabeya Senior Member

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    Well thats good to know. The reason I doubt what the scrub tech said is b/c she has always been real rude and mean to me, the lowly med student , everytime I've been in the OR. And by her personality and seeing what kind of a person she is overall, I doubt anything she has to say.

    She even had too much pride to even apologize for the incident and kept saying "he keeps blaming me", which there is no doubt since the needle holder and needle was in her hand while she poked me with while both my hands were resting on the patient without me even moving at the time. :eek:



  5. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member

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    I would definitely "write her up" (if students can do this) or get an attending and/or resident to do the same. This is unacceptable behavior. Unless you were moving your hands toward her needle, she is at fault. I'm not sure if the same rules apply to needle sticks as auto collisions.
  6. randomedstudent

    randomedstudent Member

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    I have also been stuck by a suture needle on a hep-c pt. I was told that the 2.8% transmission rate is based on a hollow-bore needle stick with syringe of pts. blood. If this is true (which I hope it is) then the liklihood of contracting hep-c from a suture needle is probably very, very low. Hope this helps calm your fears somewhat.
  7. stoic

    stoic best served chilled.

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    i got stuck a couple months ago with a suture needle from a former IV drug user who's hiv/hep status was/is unknown. don't even get me started on why labs didn't get done on her. that's a whole different story that i've filed official complaints about. anyway i elected to take the antiretrovirals (according to the CDC it's an optional thing in my particular case). they really sucked for the first few days. i felt like i had the flu (the real flu, not what everyone calls the flu). i was completely nauseous and anorexic. muscles ached. i was exhausted but couldn't sleep. it was enough that i ended up staying in bed for most of the time. suprisingly, after the first 5 days or so i got over that and felt perfectly fine.

    the psychological part of it bugged me quite a bit a first, but i rapidly got over that. anymore it's not something i worry about at all. so far all my tests have been normal. anyway, just so you know, i feel your pain. if it's any consolation, my stick was 100% my fault... so i had to deal with the fact poor technique led me to potentionally expose mysel to some nasty ****. i had place a used suture needle down on my procedure tray and been working with a new needle/thread. i finished up and took care of my 2nd suture needle properly. however, when i set down my needle driver on the tray i set my finder down right on top of the other used suture needle. poke. **** **** **** ****. no visible blood on the needle which penetrated through a glove. much like your stick i had very little bleeding, just a drop or two after a couple minutes.

    but console yourself with the fact that, as you pointed out, the suture needle is solid so that reduces the transmision risk. also, if there was no visible blood, your transmission risk also just went way down. and it's unlikely the scrub tech would lie about this; but not impossible.

    the most important thing to do is make sure the incident is reported through the correct channels so that appropriate prophylaxis can be started if needed and more importantly you're covered down the road if you were to convert to postitive status.

    did you elect to take the drugs? if so, how are the side effects hitting you?

    i guess welcome to the club. most everyone in this profession is going to get stuck from time to time. it's unfortunate but true. you will feel better about this as time moves on and the odds are like 99% (or more) you'll be ok given the type of stick you had (even if it was a used needle).

    take care and i hope this post has provided some comfort,'
    dave
  8. I read that people in this profession stick themselves an average of 3 times, so you've just been initiated.
  9. nabeya

    nabeya Senior Member

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    Thanks for the reply stoic. Luckily she isn't HIV positive, after they did her labs and rapid HIV test. With possible Hep c infections, there aren't any prophylaxis drugs to take. You just gotta wait it out and see if you make antibodies to it in a few months, then you gotta start the interferon treatment.

    Your post made me feel better and I'm sure nothing will come of it, although there is that small doubt in the back of my mind but not as bad as it was the day of the incident. :scared:

  10. Pharos

    Pharos

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    Just wanted to say hang in there and keep your head up. Needle sticks are very scary but the chances of contracting of anything too serious is quite rare in most circumstances. I know how you feel...I stuck myself with a needle I had used to draw blood samples from an AIDS patient many years ago. After many months of freightened waiting I learned that I was ok (no seroconversion). I know it doesn't make it much easier, but just know others have been there and understand your fears.

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