Website spotlight: Puncture brings needlestick safety to the public eye

Nurse Leader Insider, November 28, 2011

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A new movie offers a mainstream medium for needlestick safety, highlighting the legal battle against medical manufacturers

Healthcare workers have seen it all when it comes to safety training videos. A throaty narrator exposes statistics that endanger workers if they fail to use safety needles: An estimated 800,000 needlestick injuries occur each year. Workers can be exposed to HBV, HCV, and HIV.

Although these training films routinely make their premiere in hospitals, rarely does a motion picture make its way to the big screen, highlighting the issue of needlesticks in the mainstream media.

Puncture, which opened in select cities September 23, does just that, shining a public spotlight on an issue that is generally reserved solely for the eyes of nurses, doctors, and surgeons. The legal thriller is loosely based on the true story of two lawyers, Michael Weiss (played by Chris Evans) and Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen), who battle medical manufacturing companies when an ER nurse contracts HIV after an accidental needlestick, in an effort to determine why safety needles are not being used in hospitals.

"The arc of the story is representing this event where there is the safety needle, but you can't distribute it in the majority of the hospitals," says Danziger, an executive producer of the movie, author of the screenplay, and a partner at Danziger & De Llano in Houston. "And the lawyers discover that the reason for that is there are these large group purchasing organizations [GPO] and they control significant portions-up to $100 billion-of what is purchased each year in U.S. hospitals, and they have certain deals with certain manufactures in order to get kickbacks."

Danziger says he wrote the movie for two reasons: to honor a friend, Weiss, who passed away, and to expose these issues that seem to fly under radar in the mainstream media arena.

"I just wanted to get those issues out so that people can discuss it and talk about it and understand it," Danziger says.

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