Preventing needlesticks could save $1 billion a year

By: September 10th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

Despite federal mandates put in place 13 years ago to protect healthcare workers from needlesticks, they are still being stuck at an alarming rate. By some estimates, some 600,000 workers in medical clinics suffer needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries every year.

Safe in Common [SIC], a Lewisberry, PA-based non-profit advocate for healthcare worker safety, released statistics in late August estimating that 1,000 healthcare workers in the U.S. are stuck by a needle every day.
And those are expensive needle sticks. SIC estimates sharps injuries costs the U.S. healthcare system up to $1 billion for laboratory testing fees, counseling, and costs related to post-exposure follow-ups. This amounts to an estimated $3,042 per victim each year, according to CDC estimates.

“These completely preventable injuries, needless cost burdens on the healthcare system and psychological trauma inflicted on personnel is startling when safer equipment and smarter work practices are available to personnel across the healthcare spectrum,” says Safe in Common Chairperson Mary Foley, PhD, RN. “At a time when healthcare personnel are forced to wear Kevlar gloves to protect their hands from needlesticks, we’re highlighting the costs of ignoring safety-engineered devices to avoid these needless injuries.”


One majot IV tubing and fluids company made the decision 3 years ago to stop manufacturing the old standard rubber port IV sets, electing to make only needle free tubing….the other big 3 IV companies still make and sell millions (yes, millions) of the old standard sets to be used with needles. You “have to” use a needle to do an IVP or piggyback a drug. And, you guessed it, they are cheap! I don’t care whether they are going to veterinarian offices, physician practices, third world countries, etc, if these companies electively stop making them, we can eliminate millions of needle stick opportunities. Period.


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