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Hospitals need to adopt syringe safety policy

Medical consumers in South Carolina will be concerned to learn that, according to Institute for Safe Medication Practices, many hospitals don't have policies in place regarding the safe use of syringes. Reusing contaminated syringes is one of the major causes of the spread of Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV in medical environments. This hospital negligence is a form of medical malpractice that can gravely harm patients.

Some medical professionals have reused the syringe section on more than one patient after changing the needles. This has been identified by the Center for Disease Control as an unsafe method that can cross-infect patients. The ISMP is encouraging further training for hospital personnel who may be under the misconception that just discarding the needle is safe enough. They're offering many free training materials for medical personnel on their website.

The CDC has concluded that a large outbreak of HCV in Las Vegas in 2008 was due to an initially clean syringe and needle being used for medication on an HCV patient from a single use vial. While the needle was safely discarded, the syringe was reused and contaminated another vial of medication. The ISMP is also encouraging hospital policy changes regarding the use of insulin pens to avoid contamination.

Patients enter medical facilities assuming that the medical professional who's treating them is well-trained in the use of medication. Hospitals have a duty to implement safety protocols to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to help those who've been infected via unsafe injection practices to obtain further treatment and pursue compensation for their pain and suffering.

Source: Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News, "Unsafe Injection Practices Remain All Too Common", David Wild, August 20, 2013

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