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Unsafe injection practices still too common

New Jersey residents might be interested to hear that unsafe injection practices are still far too common. One doctor experienced the truth of this statement herself when she contracted the hepatitis C virus while she was receiving chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer back in 2001. An investigation that the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did into the source of the doctor's infections reportedly revealed disturbing discoveries.

According to the results of the investigation, a nurse from the clinic where the doctor had been receiving her chemotherapy treatments had been reusing the same syringes to retrieve saline solution from a common IV bag when doing port-flushing procedures before giving chemotherapy treatments. The nurse had reportedly been doing this for 16 months. While doing this, hepatitis C from one infected patient had spread to 99 other patients, one of which was the doctor. The doctor stated at a webinar for the Institute of Safe Medication Practices, or the ISMP, that, ironically, she had traded one life-threatening disease for another. Such mistakes by nurses could lead to more medical malpracticelawsuits.

According to an assessment that the ISMP had numerous hospitals complete, two percent of hospitals have not implemented policies that ban the use of multi-dose vials, and only 24 percent of hospitals have partially implemented such policies. Furthermore, only two percent had policies that required a new syringe for each patient. The director for the ISMP said that two percent might not seem like much, but it can result in huge consequences.

People who contract a disease from unsafe injection practices could decide to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the institutions where the incidents occurred. Medical malpractice attorneys might be able to help them prepare their claims and then help them negotiate settlements for them.

Source: Anesthesiology News, "Unsafe injection practices remain all too common", David Wild, July 23, 2013

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