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Injuries of Hospital Employees from Needles and Sharp Objects

Julie T. Jacobson, John P. Burke and Marlyn T. Conti
Infection Control
Vol. 4, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1983), pp. 100-102
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30142520
Page Count: 3
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Injuries of Hospital Employees from Needles and Sharp
                            Objects
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Abstract

During a 30-month period in our 570-bed private community hospital, employees reported 218 injuries from needles and other sharp objects. Five of these injuries were from needles used on patients known to be hepatitis B surface antigens ($HB_{s}Ag$) positive. Four were from blades or scalpels used on $HB_{s}Ag$ positive patients. Another needle injury resulted in serious Staphylococcus aureus infection. Thirty-three percent of the injuries were from improperly disposed objects, generally in trash baskets in patient rooms. Housekeeping employees were the "innocent victims" of more than one-half of the injuries from such improperly disposed objects. A survey of reporting practices revealed housekeepers reported all their injuries. Underreporting was identified as a problem with laboratory personnel and nurses who tended to make their own judgment concerning the extent of the injury. An effective innovation resulting from our survey was the use of plastic irrigation bottles as an inexpensive and readily available container for disposal of sharps.

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