If you are a healthcare worker and you have been injured in an incident involving a sharp medical device that could have been contaminated by the body fluids of a patient you are probably feeling worried and concerned right now. There are many rules, regulations and procedures that are put in place to prevent this sort of injury occurring.
If you have been injured in an incident involving a sharp medical device which was not your fault, then you may be thinking about making a claim for a work related injury. This can be handled effectively and professionally by a law firm such as Accident Advice Helpline. As they have been established for over a decade they have a wide range of experience in this type of claim. Here are some important facts about this type of injury.
Important facts about making a claim for a work related injury involving sharps
Fact 1: It is estimated that around 100,000 sharps related injuries occur each year in the NHS alone. If you add on the incidents in private hospitals and care homes then this amounts to a staggering total of incidents. It is the second most common injury in the NHS after musculo-skeletal problems, which are often caused by lifting heavy objects of course.
Fact 2: A sharp is a needle, blade, scalpel or other sharp medical device that is needed in healthcare but which can also potentially injure workers. Sharps injuries are caused by the instrument penetrating the skin. This is also sometimes called a percutaneous injury. It can happen when sharps are being stored, prepared, used or disposed of.
Fact 3: Though the injury itself may be painful, it is rarely the main problem. The main risk is a potential exposure to pathogens – germs – that may have been on the equipment because they were contaminated by the blood of another person – usually a patient. There are a number of blood-borne viruses that cause concern and they are:
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Hepatitis C (HCV)
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS)
Fact 4: The injured employee can be affected in any or all of the following ways and all of these factors are relevant when making a claim for a work related injury:
- They may actually get the infection – this depends on the immune system of the injured person and is actually quite rare
- They will suffer a great deal of worry and anxiety about being infected
- They may have to take medication to stop them becoming infected (prophylaxis) and this may make them feel ill
Fact 5: All workers in the healthcare setting are at risk but any workers who are carrying out the following procedures are especially likely to end up making a claim for a work related injury involving sharps:
- intra-vascular cannulation
- IV cannulae
- winged steel-butterfly-needles
- phlebotomy needles.
If you have been injured call Accident Advice Helpline on freephone 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.