Recently, the television show "60 Minutes" highlighted safety needle devices designated to reduce the number of health care workers exposed to diseases transmitted by contaminated needles.
If you caught the program, it focused on the needle manufacturers.
Buena Vista Regional Medical Center (BVRMC) is proud to say that we have been using safe needles for many years. Our first sharps safety device, the needleless IV system, was put in place in 1993. Since that time we have implemented a number of safe needle devices to protect both our workers as well as others in our community.
As many as 600,000 needlestick accidents occur each year to healthcare workers in the United States. Workers stuck by contaminated needles can become infected with deadly viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. At least 54 and possibly up to 113 cases of HIV transmission to healthcare workers has already occurred in the United States. Each year, several hundred cases of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C occur. These diseases affect the liver and liver cancer. At BVRMC we have a very low number of these needlestick exposures.
In 1998 California led the way with the first needle safety law in the country requiring employers to use safety devices. Then, in the fall of 1999, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a compliance directive requiring employers to evaluate and implement safer sharps devices that eliminate exposure to the lowest possible extent.
Read the rest of this story in the 3/31 Pilot Tribune.