News / Health

Study: Needle Injuries Often Unreported by Medical Students

A recent study found almost 60 percent of surgical residents admitted they had sustained needlestick injuries when they were medical students. Blunt tip needles, such as this one, are considered safer
A recent study found almost 60 percent of surgical residents admitted they had sustained needlestick injuries when they were medical students. Blunt tip needles, such as this one, are considered safer

Multimedia

A recent study shows that medical students and hospital interns often fail to report self-inflicted needlestick injuries when treating patients.  That is a major worry if the patient or the health care worker carries an infectious disease, such as HIV-AIDS or hepatitis. 

There is a wide gap between what medical students learn in the classroom and in a medical facility. Real experience has to begin at a teaching hospital, treating patients who are often very sick.

Twenty-four year old Swathi Eluri is a third year medical student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She is learning on the job at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  One minute she is bedside, monitoring a patient's condition. Then scrubbing up before going into surgery.

Eluri and other students must learn to be adept with needles and other sharp instruments.  They are supervised.

But a recent study of surgical residents [doctors in training] at 17 medical centers in the United States indicates that almost 60 percent admitted they had sustained needlestick injuries when they were medical students.

To make matters worse, many of these students failed to report the injuries to hospital officials.The lead author of the study done by Johns Hopkins University is Dr. Martin Makary. He says students put themselves and others in danger from infectious diseases when they are stuck. "We put the most vulnerable people on the front lines of this battle," he said.

In surgery, these doctors in training are frequently assigned the task of stitching up the fascia.

"A needle that goes through the skin needs to be as sharp as possible because that's going to be associated with the easiest access, the more slick closure, and the less pain when somebody has, say their blood drawn or their skin closed," Dr. Makary stated.

Dr. Makary is advocating the use of blunt tip needles which are considered safer. "This needle is still sharp enough to penetrate through body tissue," he said. "But it does have a blunt tip, so that if it accidentally goes into my finger, it's much less likely to perforate."

The Johns Hopkins study also recommends that doctors wear two sets of gloves to make them and the patient less vulnerable to infectious diseases.  

The study found that 600,000 to 800,000 needlesticks and similar injuries occur each year among health care workers in the United States.  While most known cases of HIV or hepatitis are reported, other possible infections often are not.

Swathi Eluri says she has never been injured by a needle.  But she knows other medical students who have.

The Johns Hopkins study has urged hospitals to set up a hotline telephone number that medical personnel and students can call when they are injured.

The researchers say a prompt response by the hospital is meant to reassure medical students that there is no stigma in reporting this kind of accident.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid