Dirty Needlestick



This goes with my hindsight is 20/20 post.  As an afterthought, WTF did I  do?  After a long shift dealing with a clotted catheter (which ended up having 79cc’s of saline in the balloon!), nauseated clients, and endless whining, I go to my final client for the night.  A very self care type of client.  Tells you where and what to inject, what time his meds are due, and in which order they should be in.  In with a multiple of issues, but one that goes with this story, he’s a renal client, a very hard stick.  But, working on a renal/cardiac floor, I am a fairly good sticker and got two IV’s in earlier in the night and his morning lab earlier that morning.

I give his PO meds (liquids first, pills next).  He requests his heparin shot sub-q in his right arm.  No problemo.  I don my gloves, clean the arm with alcohol, pinch and inject.  When I go to flip the safety lock I drop the freaking needle.  Here is when the out of body sensation comes in.  You see yourself standing there, the needle dropping, and you think, “Hey grab it”!  But, you stand there and watch it fall . . . into your other hand.  Fuck!

A quick rub with a alcohol pad, and a good scrub at the sink, all I could do is cuss at myself under my breath.  I call the house supervisor and get a exposure pack, fill out the paperwork, have a newly arrived day shifter draw my blood.  I go to draw the two tubes of blood on the client.  Yeah, now I can’t get him.  Two sticks from me, two from my RN, two from another RN, and one final one from the day RN that got my blood.  Yeah, the client was NOT happy.

Off to the lab, I hand in my blood samples and said I needed to pee in a cup for them.  They tell me no, you need to go to business health and do it there.  Issues:  1)  I am finishing my 2nd 12 hour shift, and do not want to wait until 9 am for business health to open.  2)  Our business health is also a quick care clinic open to the public, again NOT waiting.  3)  It’s Saturday, there is NO way in hell I am going to sit in the business health office with my three kids and waiting.  Another call to the day shift supervisor (yeah, I should be in my own bed by now), and she tells them that they need to take my pee.  Fine they say.  Well, the dumb-asses didn’t know HOW to do it.  I had to tell them to take off the handles in the bathroom, color the water, fill out the paperwork, how to seal it, etc.  Dumb-asses.

But thanks to modern technology, the rapid HIV and Hepatitis tests have come back negative.  I called my husband and told him congratulations, he didn’t have to wear a condom for the rest of his life.  Lucky him.


2 responses »

  1. scaaaary. yikes. glad you are okay! sounds like something i would do (and have done… but, luckily with my own needles.. fert. meds, not iv drug use.. don’t worry! ;-))

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