A Little Frazzled

miss phoenix's picture

At work we use a sharp tool called a tenaculum to hold the cervix in place during colposcopies and abortions, and today I accidentally poked myself in the pinky with a used one with blood on it, and it went through my gloves and drew blood.

Deep breath.

Because the tenaculum had come from a sink full of used tools that I was preparing to clean and autoclave, we have no idea which patient it came from. Thankfully, none of our patients today are know n to be HIV positive and none of them have an admitted history of intravenous drug use. We filed an incident report and did a blood draw today to test for HIV and Hep C so we have proof in case of a worst case scenario that I was negative for both when the accident happened, and we'll do another in three months.

Only .5% of Americans are infected with HIV, and 1.8% have hepatitis C. The chances of the blood on that tenaculum having either virus is suuuuuper slim. Statistically, I don't have much reason to worry.

As much as I know this, I'm a bit shaken up and today was completely draining. I'm freaked out and also disappointed in myself for what I thought was blatant carelessness, but my co-workers admitted to me that pretty much all of them have done the same thing at some point in their careers in healthcare. So I don't feel like as much of a clumsy dummy, which is good, but I'm still bummed out.

Here's hoping that the nervousness passes and the next few months until the re-test pass quickly, and that the odds are my friend.


freakinchillmom's picture

I know this can be scary- I've injured myself with many a sharp during training. This would be considered a low risk stick- high risk being a large bore hollow needle containing blood. Very unlikely that you could ever contract anything with your kind of injury. Best of luck with the waiting.

bitch-face's picture
Submitted by bitch-face on

when he was a tech in the ER, it's scary BUT very very unlikely that anything is wrong. ~vibes~ the time until your next all clear test passes quickly

miss phoenix's picture

i wish someone at work had explained to me the difference between low and high risk sticks! this tool had fresh blood on it, but like you pointed out-- it wasn't FILLED with blood. thanks for posting, because this really does ease my mind a bit. <3

miss phoenix's picture

so glad dave was okay! if my experience today has taught me one thing, it's that pretty much everyone who's worked in healthcare has gone through this at some point. despite my mega hypochondriac tendencies, i'm far from the first person who's gone to work one day and left being terrified that they've contracted a deadly disease.

it's so reassuring to know that i'm not the only clumsy fucking asshole who's done something like this. my first reaction was annoyance, like "jeezus, phoenix, why you gotta be so clumsy?!" and then a couple minutes later the implications sunk in and i bawled to a co-worker for a couple minute til i could shake it off. one thing is for sure: every time i see a tenaculum from this day forth, i will be more ridiculously careful than you could imagine while handling it. it's funny how something SHARP that you see every day seems so innocuous until the one time it wounds you, and then....it's all "danger, will robinson!" from that point on. :p

sunflower's picture
Submitted by sunflower on

More good luck to not stress out than not to seroconvert with HIV or hepatitis, since they are so unlikely. But vibes to both.

We were just talking about that today at my clinical rotations orientation. I am so sure I am going to get a needle stick, I am so clumsy.

Glad you are still doing such an important job.

Sunflower the unflower

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miss phoenix's picture

i do simple finger sticks and run hemoglobin and Rh tests but havent trained to do actual blood draws yet, other than to let my co-workers practice on me and reiterate every step of the process.

on the one hand i'm fascinated by everything related to the medical field and the more i can learn and use with patients, the better. but....i'm also totally freaked out, like "who's fucking idea was it to leave me in charge of NEEDLES and SHARP SHIT?!" i know i'm knowledgeable and more than capable with this stuff, but geez... the responsibilities of it weight heavy sometimes, right? not only do i not want to do dumb shit like stab myself with dirty sharps, but i don't want to hurt any patients in the process of doing my job and/or learning.

i REFUSE to let today's little misstep affect the rest of my job but today it feels scary to know that a wobbly hand can sometimes have such a big impact.

i'll get over it, probably by tommorrow. but i need to buck up, sunflower, because i'm barely even doing the "good" stuff!! :)

earthgarden's picture

I hope everything turns out ok. I can imagine!! how frightening this is! (((hugs)))

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