310prolene

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
29
15
Status
Medical Student
I guess the purpose of this post is to both vent and to find support....

One month in to intern year of a surgical sub specialty. Everything has been great. Last week, however, I had a fluid splash to the eye in the OR. I was wearing protective glasses, but of course a drop of fluid during debridement ended up in my eye. Called the exposure in to our occupational health department. Fast forward to today, and I hear back that the patient is positive for hepatitis C anti-body and has an active infection. (Negative for HIV.) I'll be having my blood drawn tomorrow for baseline labs.

Part of me is extremely nervous. I know the transmission rate of hep c through mucous membrane exposure is thought to be extremely low. But still, it's scary. Part of me is still in denial. The biggest part of me is angry. I find myself really mad at the patient. He's an IV drug abuser, who won't admit he's using. He's been admitted 3 times in the past month for abscesses from injecting. And now, as we've tried to help him time and time again, I end up exposed to hep c. Intellectually, I had known this was a risk of being a surgeon. But wow, it really sucks when it becomes your reality. Its my day off today, so I'm not really around anyone. I just needed somewhere to vent about it. Thanks for any support or thoughts anyone can share. Quick question...does a person's hep c RNA viral load correlate with his or her ability to infect others? His viral load is low (348 copies / mL). I know at this point, it doesn't change anything, just looking for a little extra hope.
 

bannie22

Hero
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2009
3,693
1,107
Sorry about this. I know how you feel. I hope everything turns out fine. These things will happen even when you take the greatest of care. It is an unfortunate part of the profession.

At least, you know that there is a cure for Hep C.
 

doc05

2K Member
15+ Year Member
May 24, 2003
3,517
1,435
U.S.A.
Visit site
Status
Quick question...does a person's hep c RNA viral load correlate with his or her ability to infect others? His viral load is low (348 copies / mL). I know at this point, it doesn't change anything, just looking for a little extra hope.
probably. but it doesn't matter. just move on. there's a cure, by the way.