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    matt123's Avatar
    matt123 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    May 12, 2004, 01:14 PM
    Blood tests- PLEASE HELP
    I got tested at a dept of health facility in the DC area a few weeks ago.A week after I had sorethroat and mild cold.I went back and asked the nurse if there was a chance I might have been contaminated by someone else's needle. She said NO... but I am very concerned that she might have drawn blood from some HIV positive guy and used the same needle on me. My questions are:
    1. Is that possible? Can someone make a mistake like that?
    2. Has there been an incidence of someone getting the virus by testing?
    3. What kind of needles are used for testing? I saw small individual needles in boxes. Wouldn't that increase the chance of her making mistakes, if she had to use more than one fresh piece for drawing? Are there safeguards?
    Please reassure me.
    BTW I got negative after my testing
    bellbox's Avatar
    bellbox Posts: 14, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    May 12, 2004, 03:56 PM
    Re: Blood tests- PLEASE HELP
    While anything is possible the health dept. laws prevent health care professionals from using a needle more than once. Nurses and techs are usually very well trained in proper needle disposal for their safety and yours (you'll see them immediately dispose the needle into one of the red 'sharps' boxes), as it is very dangerous for them to reuse a needle as well. The legal ramifications for both the nurse/tech and the clinic is also a strong motivator for proper disposal. I would feel confident in saying that a needle was not reused.

    I am not aware of any virus transmission by blood testing in the recent past, although I did not do a complete search of the literature. Testing is much different than say, a blood transfusion where there were documented cases of transmission before the HIV was well understood.

    As for the needles used, something in the range of a 21 gauge needle is typically used (sometimes bigger). Nurses and techs are usually made to undergo training and sometimes supervised procedures every year in order to keep their licences. Just remember, it is much safer for the nurse to use a fresh needle, and the threat of contracting AIDS is a strong enough incentive to keep your mistakes in that area to zero. Having a large box of needles there would probably serve to reduce the number of mistakes, as it constantly reminds her/him to properly dispose the needle, and the patient can see what they are using. Putting a cap back on a needle is the most dangerous thing you can do after sticking a patient, and it is drilled into your head during medical training to get that needle to the sharps box as quickly as possible without putting it down between procedures.

    As long as you keep to the licenced clinics and doctors offices, you are extremely safe when getting blood drawn for any sort of diagnostic test.
    matt123's Avatar
    matt123 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    May 13, 2004, 05:14 AM
    Re: Blood tests- PLEASE HELP
    Hi ,
    Thanks for that reply. My worry stems from the fact that I actually did not see her put the needle into the disposable box. Also that this place , the frederick county hospital in MD uses a separate syringe and a separate needle. Hence the chance of a mistake quadraples ( I think). And this is such a scary disease that it has set me worrying.
    1. I heard that test needles are one time use only. Is that true?
    2. If reheading is dangerous how is it done the first time? When the needle is fresh and so is the syringe?
    3. This place is a govt run place , so would they use proper safeguards and quality equipements?
    I would really appreciate if you guys could give me a
    This is the place I went to:
    EVS's Avatar
    EVS Posts: 93, Reputation: 3
    Junior Member

    Nov 13, 2004, 11:23 PM

    I am in the medical field, and I find your story rather interesting - as a new equipment (Needles and Syringes) are used every time. You guys are living in a first world country and these things should never happen.

    We normally only throw out everything after the patient has left by cleaning the entire area before the next patient come in.

    I live in a relatively third world country, South Africa, where I can believe that this sort of thing can happen, although we teach medical staff NEVER to reuse any equipment unless it is sterile. Even if a packet seal has been broken and the content is relatively clean - throw it away. The sterile packet MUST be sealed at all times.

    The answer to your first question is NO mistakes should never be made.

    The answer to your second question is No mistakes should never be made.

    After a needle is used we are taught to stick it into a towel, napkin (so that it cannot accidentally prick someone else and only after the patient has left do we put it into the sharps bin.

    More than that I cannot reassure you further.

    I have heard horror incidents, but only in South Africa and in the rural areas only.



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