Nurses, doctors, phlebotomists and others who work around sharps in a hospital or any other medical environment must ensure that they’re always following the proper safety protocol for this task. There’s a risk that they will be stuck if they aren’t safe and if they don’t have the right equipment. This can lead to serious illnesses for them.
There are several medical conditions that are transmitted through the blood. Some of the more serious ones include HIV, AIDS and hepatitis B and C. If a patient has any of these and a health care worker is stuck with a sharp, such as a needle, that came into contact with the person’s blood, there is a risk of transmission to the worker.
Even if they don’t contract the illness, they’re going to have to go through close monitoring. This can include regular blood tests. The frequency and duration depend on the illness that they might have. The patient might also have to go through close monitoring just in case they had an undiagnosed condition that might affect the worker. In many cases, the patient would be required to have an HIV test because of the incident.
These individuals also have to deal with the emotional toll of the potential infectious disease exposure. This can be difficult and might also require that they get professional mental health help. Some might have to wait to return to work because of the incident.
Any medical professional who’s dealing with a sharps incident should alert their employer immediately of the issue. Workers’ compensation should pick up the medical care costs associated with the incident. It should also cover payments for missed wages, but that compensation will only equal part of the worker’s actual wages.