Needle Sticks Pose a Serious Risk to Healthcare Workers
Healthcare facilities can be a dangerous place to work. You never know what will happen on any given shift. You could encounter a violent patient or family member. Exposure to blood or other bodily fluids is an ever-present risk. Rapid responses to an emergency call can result in a slip-and-fall.
In addition to some of these more obvious risks, an often overlooked cause of workplace illness and injury are needle sticks. Often spotlighted during the height of the AIDS epidemic, the dangers of needle sticks have receded into the background. However, the same concerns and risks remain. A poke from a used syringe puts you at risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis, or other serious bloodborne illnesses. You should understand your rights under the workers’ compensation system if you experience a needle stick at work.
What Happens After a Syringe Pokes You?
If a used needle pokes you, stay calm. You should inform your supervisor of the incident. You should fill out any reports or necessary paperwork as soon as possible. Documenting the incident while it’s still fresh in your mind can help strengthen your case if you need to make a claim in the future.
A needle stick will not cause you to be instantly infected with a disease. You may experience no more harm than the initial pain and shock of the poke. However, continued medical screening is crucial to help address any problems that may arise. Having the medical history of the person who the syringe was used upon can help guide a medical diagnosis and determine the direction of your preventative care.
If you contract an infection from the syringe, you will likely have to submit to long-term medical treatments. The cost of these treatments can add up quickly. Depending on the type of treatment, you may need to seek some time off of work. Workers’ compensation benefits can help cover some of these costs. You should discuss your potential claim with a skilled legal professional.