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AANA Condemns Unsafe Injection Practices
Date:3/6/2008

ion included 10 malpractice settlements.

"Anesthesia practiced according to professional guidelines is safe," Wilson said. "We intend to use these incidents to reinforce the importance of adhering to established guidelines and to gain a better understanding of common practices related to the use of needles, syringes, and single-use medication vials by nurse anesthetists and other healthcare professionals.

"What is clearly not the answer to the problem is for any group of providers --- physician or other -- to insist that 'it couldn't happen to us,' because that's certainly not in our patients' best interests," said Wilson. "Every clinician and professional society lives in a glass house when it comes to a critical issue such as infection prevention. If the hepatitis C outbreaks in New York and Nevada demonstrated anything, it was that such incidents occur regardless of a provider's degree, credential, or title. For any group to suggest otherwise is to put its collective head in the sand -- it is irresponsible, negligent, and a sure invitation for yet another Nevada or New York situation to occur."

The AANA refused to put its head in the sand when, in 2002, a hepatitis outbreak in Norman, Okla., was traced back to a nurse anesthetist supervised by an anesthesiologist at a hospital outpatient clinic. More than 100 patients who were treated at the hospital were diagnosed with hepatitis B or C (although it was impossible to determine precisely how many patients were infected prior to treatment or during treatment at the facility).

In response to the situation in Norman, the AANA took immediate action. CRNAs across the country were mailed a copy of the AANA Infection Control Guide along with a letter reinforcing the importance of strict compliance to ensure patient safety. Press releases were disseminated to educate, inform, and reassure the public about safe injection practices. The AANA also hired a research firm to conduct a random
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SOURCE American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
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