Risk of infection from a needlestick injury

Needlestick prevention

If you have suffered a needlestick injury then chances are your first concern is whether you have sustained an infection as a result of the incident.

While there is always a chance of infection of by a blood borne virus (BBV) those chances are very, very slim and the need for injections and blood tests is as much as  precaution to make sure that you do not get an infection as opposed to treatment for an infection.

The 2006 report issued by the Health Protection Agency entitled ‘The eye of the needle’ that dealt with occupational exposure to BBV’s in health-care workers stated that there had been only 5 documented cases of HIV infection following a needlestick infection with a further 14 possible cases of exposure, there were 5 fatalities – these figures relate not just to the UK but covers those working in areas of the world where there is a high risk level of HIV infection.

The report further stated that the most probable infection, if any, would be Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

An update to the report made available in 2008 made the following comments:

  • hollow bore needles presented the greatest risk with them being responsible for 68% of percutaneous exposure.
  • The highest risk was infection by Hepatitis C as result of percutaneous exposure to a patient.
  • Nurses were among some of the highest risk with a further third of all incidents involved senior house officers
  • A third of all incidents occurred in hospital wards or accident and emergency departments
  • 20 +% occurred in intensive care units but could have been avoided had accepted safety procedures and policies been adhered to.
  • There had been no further HIV fatalities since the original report
  • The risk of exposure (as opposed to actual infection) from a deep penetrating injury from a hollow bore needle or with visible blood (worse case scenario) is 1 in 3 for Hep B 1 in 30 for Hep C and 1 in 300 for HIV
The chances of infection are low but you should in all cases seek immediate medical attention and, if at all possible, take the needlestick that caused your injury with you as this may help the medical staff decide on the best cause of action.

Even if you are not infected you can still claim compensation for the stress and worry you are likely to suffer.

Here at Gartons we can help you claim the compensation that you are entitled to and the compensation you deserve. We can deal with your claim on a No Win No Fee basis so if your claim fails you don’t pay us a penny for the work we have done on your behalf.

To get your claim started get in touch with us today:

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