Dirty needles are causing concern for patients and the medical community in the U.S. Despite new patient safety practices, many patients are still at risk for infections and diseases due to unsafe injection practices.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 150,000 patients have been subjected to unsafe injection practices and two-thirds of these instances have occurred within the last four years. Reports found that the use of unsafe needles led to 49 disease outbreaks as well as many patients getting bacterial infections like MRSA and hepatitis.
What has led to the outbreak of infections caused by unsafe needles? Experts blame clinics and hospitals that don't follow safety standards and guidelines issued to protect patients from getting an infection or disease from a used or unsafe syringe.
Reports show that unsafe injections that can lead to patient illnesses or fatalities are more likely to happen in clinics, small outpatient clinics and long-term health care facilities. Many of the reported infection outbreaks from injections are caused by syringes or needles being used multiple times on different patients. It was also reported that single-use vials were being used on multiple patients, which also contributed to patients being infected.
Experts say that using the same medication vial to give multiple patients an injection can be very dangerous and may be causing many infections in U.S. patients. Reports have found that clinics do not always understand the dangers of using the same vial for multiple patients. Other clinics may be trying to save money and reduce waste by throwing away drug vials that are not empty.
Some clinics believe that it is safe to reuse drug vials for multiple patients by using different syringes for each patient but this is a violation of infection control policies. Reports have shown another disturbing trend that one percent of clinicians reuse syringes after changing the needle despite the risk of spreading an infection.
Infectious disease experts say that injection practices are not closely monitored in U.S. medical facilities and patients will continue to face the risk of infections if the issued is not addressed by federal or state regulators.
Patients who have suffered an infection or illness due to unsafe injection practices may be entitled to medical compensation. Clinics and hospitals are required to follow patient safety procedures and not using proper injection safety practices could result in a medical negligence lawsuit or settlement against the clinic or hospital.
Source: USA Today, "Dirty medical needles put tens of thousands at risk in USA," Peter Eisler, Dec. 28, 2012
Our law firm can help patients who have suffered an infection or illness due to unsafe medical practices. To learn more about our law firm, please visit our medical negligence page.