Safety

Needlestick saga recounts six months of anxiety

OSHA Healthcare Connection, April 1, 2008

It is not just the cost of tests and follow-up treatment that make occupational blood exposures so costly. Injured healthcare workers pay a steep psychological toll, especially if they choose not to report the exposure.

Stephanie L. Weaver, MD, a Chicago internist, writes about her half year of worry from a seemingly low-risk exposure in the February 15 issue of Medical Economics.

Her ordeal started when she was just too tired, and perhaps embarrassed, to report a scalpel cut from an abscess-draining procedure at the end of the day. Soon after, she discovered that the source patient's boyfriend was HIV positive.

Weaver writes about how the incident "haunted" her, why she wound up paying for her own HIV mail-in test, and how she would do things differently next time.

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