ABSTRACT: Surgeons frequently sustain needlestick injuries when operating. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and reporting rate of needlestick injuries at one institution. A questionnaire was distributed anonymously to 69 surgeons of all grades and specialties in a district general hospital in the UK. The questionnaire was returned by 42 surgeons (60.9%). There were 840 needlestick injuries over two years, of which 126 caused bleeding. Senior surgeons who spent more hours operating per week had a higher rate of needlestick injuries compared with junior surgeons (29.1 vs 6.59 injuries per surgeon over two years). Of the total number of injuries, 19 (2.26%) were reported to Occupational Health according to the surgeons questioned, but only six reported incidents were found in the Occupational Health records. Junior surgeons were significantly more likely to report needlestick injuries than senior surgeons (9.82% vs 1.10% of injuries reported, P=0.0000045). The main reasons for failure to report needlestick injuries were due to the lack of time and excessive paperwork. Seventy-three percent of surgeons did not routinely use double gloves when operating, mainly because of decreased hand sensation. The rate of needlestick injury reporting by surgeons at this institution is extremely low. Previous studies have shown a higher reporting rate suggesting that, despite awareness of blood-borne infections, surgeons are still not following recommended protocols.
Journal of Hospital Infection 08/2008; 70(1):66-70. · 3.39 Impact Factor