The New Jersey Department of Health recently reported that a nurse who administered flu vaccines at a company-sponsored clinic re-used a single syringe for 67 employees. This failure to adhere to proper infection control practices put every single one of those employees at needless risk.
While errors of this magnitude are rare, they are not unheard of. The nurse has been reported to the state Board of Nursing, and will likely face stiff penalties, up to and including the revocation of her license. However, even when best practices are observed, you are still at risk.
Proper procedures can still make you sick
A study published in early October in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine found that even when healthcare providers changed protective gloves and gowns, both they and their patients were still at risk of contamination.
According to Scientific American, “the participants put on protective gowns and gloves in their usual manner and then had a small amount of fluorescent lotion placed in the palm of their hands, which they then rubbed between their hands for 15 seconds to simulate dirtied gloves, then smeared the gloves over the chest and abdomen area of the gown. Then the gloves were exchanged for clean ones.”
Researchers examined the participants with a black light after a change of gloves and gowns. The results were astounding; the participants’ skin and clothing were contaminated 46% of the time. When proper procedures were followed, contamination occurred 30% of the time, as opposed to 70% when best practices were not observed.
Dr. Curtis J. Donskey of the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center said, “Most of the participants appeared to be unaware of the high risk for contamination and many reported receiving minimal or no training in putting on and taking off personal protective equipment.”
This study hopes to use the fluorescent dye technique to implement training procedures to reduce contamination of and by healthcare professionals. In the meantime, approximately 1 in 25 hospital patients contract a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) every day. Until better training procedures are established, you and your loved ones are at risk.
If you or someone you know has contracted a healthcare-associated infection, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced Kentucky and Ohio medical malpractice attorneys can help guide you through a difficult and emotional time. Contact Crandall & Pera Law today for a free consultation.