News | June 27, 2007

Needle-Stick Injuries are Common but Unreported by Surgeons in Training

June 28, 2007 — A survey of nearly 700 surgical residents in 17 U.S. medical centers finds that more than half failed to report needle-stick injuries involving patients whose blood could be a source of HIV, hepatitis and other infections.

According to the report, appearing in the June 28 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, say most residents in the survey falsely believe that reporting and getting timely medical attention won't prevent infection. Residents also say reporting takes "too much time" and interrupts their work.

The survey, which took place in 2003, revealed that 99 percent of surgeons-in-training suffered an average of eight needle-stick injuries in their first five years. Of these surgeons, only 49 percent reported injuries to an employee health service. Of those who reported, 53 percent had experienced an injury involving a patient with a history of intravenous drug use and/or infected with HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV).

According to the survey, 57 percent of surgical residents reported a feeling of being "rushed" as the primary cause of the injury, 42 percent said they did not report the injury because it took "too much time" and 28 percent said there was "no utility in reporting."

For more information: