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'Sharps' injuries have major health and cost impact for surgeons
Date:4/2/2013

Philadelphia, Pa. (April 2, 2013) Injuries caused by needles and other sharp instruments are a major occupational hazard for surgeonswith high costs related to the risk of contracting serious infectious diseases, according to a special article in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Kevin C. Chung and colleagues at The University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, review the risks, health impact and costs of "sharps" injuries for surgeons and other operating room personnel. They write, "Increased attention to the health, economic, personal and social implications of these injuries is essential for appropriate management and future prevention."

High Rate of Sharps Injuries in ORSurgeons at Highest Risk Nearly 400,000 sharps injuries occur each year in the United States. About 25 percent of injured workers are surgeonsfor whom the risk is highest in the operating room. "Despite healthcare policies designed to protect healthcare workers, injuries remain common," Dr. Chung and colleagues write. Nearly all surgeons will sustain a sharps injury sometime during their career. Medical students and residents are also at high risk; fatigue and inexperience are important risk factors.

The main health concern of sharps injuries is the risk of acquiring a communicable disease from a patient. While HIV is the most-feared result, the risk of infection with hepatitis B virus is actually much higher. Sharps injuries can also have a major psychological impact on the injured person and his or her familyparticularly during the time needed to confirm that the injured worker is free of infection, which may take several weeks or months.

Once an injury occurs, there are standardized guide
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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