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Careers: Nursing/needle stick question


Hello, I am currently employed at a nursing home. However about a year ago, I was employed by a home health & hospice company. It was my first job as a nurse. The company was not a very good one and I only stayed with them for 6 months.

One of my patients was dying from AIDs and also had both Hep B & C. He had open wounds I had to dress a few times a week, and the company did not provide gowns for protection (I had to even buy my own latex gloves!). While cleaning the wound, it would frequently squirt blood & puss all over me. I have cats, so I would sometimes have cuts on my arms from the morning where the blood would land. I always scrubbed really good in the sink afterwards but this still worries me. The company always said this was not an issue.

My biggest concern is while drawing blood on him once, he jerked his arm and the needle pricked me. I again scrubbed my hand real good afterwards, and I tried to squeeze blood out of my finger, but no blood ever came out. However even though I did not bleed from the needle prick, I could see where it broke the skin. The office was already closed for the day so I was unable to report it. I was tested at a "late hours" clinic that same day and everything came back negative. They felt prophylaxis treatment was unnecessary. When I reported the incident to my boss the next day, she would not cover anything or even provide counseling on the event because I did not report it the previous day- but the office was closed! I tried calling but got no answer. This is actually why I put in my two week notice & left.

It has been a little over a year and I am now pregnant. I was recently tested for Hep B & HIV r/t my pregnancy, and it came back negative, but I was not retested for Hep C. I'm really worried now that I'm pregnant about this, even moreso than I was before. What are the chances that I contracted something from this?

I'm also worried about asking for the Hep C test cause I only have pregnancy medicaid and they said they only cover things related to pregnancy. I've never had medicaid before or really dealt with medicaid (I'm a staff nurse and do not handle any billing aspects), and I don't want them taking legal action against me if a Hep C test is not related to pregnancy.

Marie, I don't know how to answer your question. The first thing I will say is under no circumstance are you to ever put yourself at risk for any organization. It is crucial that you know your organization's policies on safety and reporting. I have no idea what your risk are for having contracted "something" from your ordeal. I am sorry you waited until you are pregnant to follow up with this. I would ask for the Hep C test and tell the doctor what your concern is. Good luck with this.  

Careers: Nursing

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Violet Argo RN


I can answer questions related to terminal illness and hospice care, such as pain and symptom management. Hospice care is very personal and rewarding.


6.5 years of working with hospice patients.

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