Millennium Post

Needle stick injuries proving deadly for docs in city hospitals

New Delhi: Needle stick injuries, an occupational hazard mainly affecting doctors and nurses that could pass on life threatening blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis B, C and HIV, have been found to be a very high in government run hospitals in Delhi.
"There are many incidents reported, when doctors, technicians and nurses got prick during surgery, or performing their duties at emergency OPD and wards," says a doctor at AIIMS. Recently, a senior doctor anesthetist at the AIIMS, Delhi, suffered a needle prick on the job and later tested positive for Hepatitis- B. Citing his plight and similar instance in the past, medicos across the city have raised a demand for risk hazard allowance.
Sources said the doctor was performing a surgery where he received an infected needle prick, later he took a Hepatitis B surface antigen and antiretroviral therapy for AIDS to curb down the effect of blood-brone disease. He further said that in AIIMS, viral makers testing is not done prior to surgery, which is must for any surgery because it has risk of transmitting infection like HIV, Hepatitis B and C to surgical team. This is being done in each and every hospital but not in AIIMS. The doctors raise question: Are our doctors and nursing officers immune to these infections?
He also said this is risky for patients also that as they can get these infections from surgical team while performing surgery if any doctors is having that infection from pervious surgery as status is not known.
Over 200 surgeries are carried out at AIIMS every day and the case of doctors suffering needle pricks are significant, the doctors pointed out.
In 2016, the Microbiology department, AIIMS conducted a study, which reads 476 staff members were surveyed on self-reported injuries ; 73% of doctors were hurt by needles at some point, followed by 19.1 per cent nurses and 3.2 per cent of disposal staff. Of the worker, 12 (2.5 percent) were not vancinated against HBV. Of the vaccinated, 24(5%) had completed three doses of the vaccine in year while 19(3.9%) were vaccinated more than a decade back.
Similar type of study conducted in Safdarjung, 2010 reveals that all nurses studied (49) reported NSIs, making them the worst affected followed by 87 per cent of junior residents, 85 per cent of nursing students, 84 per cent of lab technicians, 82 per cent interns, 80 per cent of senior residents studied and 53 per cent of undergraduate students. The commonest clinical activity to cause NSI was blood withdrawal (55 per cent), followed by suturing (20.3 per cent) and vaccination (11.7 per cent). About 13 per cent of NSIs were received due to patient aggressiveness while recapping needles caused NSI in almost 40% cases.
Another finding of the study, published in the 'Indian Journal of Medical Research' this month, said that while 60 per cent of health workers after NSI took action instantly, 26 per cent did not bother, putting themselves at risk. Around 74 per cent of health workers were wearing gloves at the time of NSI. The degree of penetration of the needle was subcutaneous (68 per cent), intramuscular (16 per cent), intradermal (13 per cent) or intravenous (3 per cent).

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