Dirty Needles And Medical Malpractice

A review conducted by the USA Today reveals that dangerous injection practices have been tied to numerous outbreaks of disease and bacterial infection throughout the nation. Studies have shown that more than 5 percent of medical facilities do not follow the accepted injection safety protocols outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By not following the proper safety procedures, these facilities expose their patients to the risk of hepatitis, HIV, and bacterial infections including drug-resistant staph infections known as MSRA.

The situation which the USA Today report highlighted as the most common method of poor injection safety involves the practice of drawing multiple injections from a single-use vial of medication. These vials generally contain more medication than is necessary for a single treatment, but once the sterile seal is broken, it is not safe to draw multiple injections from them. This practice has been tied to numerous outbreaks where multiple patients develop infections after receiving similar treatments at a particular clinic or other facility.

A survey published in the American Journal of Infection Control also indicated that, despite the well-known risk of infection, roughly 1 percent of clinical personnel who administer injections reuse syringes on multiple patients. While these personnel may swap out the needle of the syringe, the practice is still highly unsafe and violates CDC guidelines.

Disposable syringes have been available for decades. Hospitals and clinics have no excuse for endangering patients by ignoring the infection control protocols of the CDC. Thousands of patients have been sickened or killed by the practice and clearly more needs to be done to force providers to follow best practices regarding the administration of injections.

Source: USA Today, “Dirty medical needles put tens of thousands at risk in USA,” by Peter Eisler, 27 December 2012