HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
health care setting universal precaution not observed and risk
About This Forum:

This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

health care setting universal precaution not observed and risk

Dear doctor(s) , I had my blood drawn for medical tests and the nurse did not disinfect the venipuncture site, the nurse also touched the area with his bare unwashed hands to"feel' for the vein before inserting the needle , no alchool swabbing used.Since seconds earlier he was touching blood vials and since now I tend to  question his personal hygene practices also,and let's assume he was hiv +, did he put me at risk?If not hiv ,anything else?after all there must be a reason to why  disinfecting the venipunture site is a using universal precaution and not a ritual ..should I get tested?thank you for your time   ..
Related Discussions
239123_tn?1267651214
No risk.  However, I don't fully follow your description of the procedures.  Also, I doubt you could know whether the worker had washed his hands recently, or perhaps used a disinfected gel.

It is perfectly fine for a provider drawing blood to touch a patient's skin, i.e. to feel for the vein, without being gloved.  I do that myself, before I put on gloves, wipe with alcohol, and draw the blood.  If alcohol wasn't used after he touched your skin, that was wrong.  But failure to do that doesn't risk HIV or blood borne infections; it only brings a very small risk of localized bacterial infection, for example, if his skin or yours was contamined wtih staph, strep, or other bacteria.  However, even that is rare and not much of a risk.

With respect to bloodborne infections, the primary purpose of universal precautions in health care settings is to protect the health care worker from something the patient might have, not to protect the patient from exposure.  There is no risk to patients for HIV or any other blood borne infections from the procedures you describe.

If you are sure the worker did not wipe your skin with alcohol, and if he didn't use gloves, you have a legitimate reason to raise the issue with him or his supervisor.  But the skin touching per se really isn't an issue unless alcohol wasn't used afterward.

You certainly don't need HIV testing on this account.  

Best wishes--  HHH, MD

6 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thank you and sorry if I was not to clear in my description of the succession of the  events.Here is how it went; the nurse was touching ( withouth wearing gloves) some other's patient blood vials when I entered the room,then he touched my skin to feel the vein and then ,seconds later,WITHOUT wiping the area with alcohol, inserted the needle to draw the blood.He never washed his hands after touching the other's patient blood vials(and no gloves either)And  the doctor asked him to use gloves with me earlier that day because after, somebody in my family contracted hepatites in a health care setting I am no to fond of being "pocked"with needles,thank you for your time again
Blank
239123_tn?1267651214
Still no risk and no worries.  Anybody who acquired hepatitis in a hospital setting did not catch it by the kind of scenario you describe.  Hepatitis from health care settings comes exclusively from receving infected transfusions or organ transpants.

Still, if the nurse used the techniques you described, especially after his employer asked him to take special precautions because of your nervousness, then you are well without your rights to discuss it with your doctor.  He probably will appreciate your doing so.  (But of course only if you are very certain of your facts.)
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I forgot to put an exlamation mark on  that last remark as there is irony  in the fact that despite the  doctor's  advice to use gloves with me, he forgot  to use  gloves or wash his hands AND ( after touching my vein) wipe my skin with alcohol.If I report him to the doc..  I wouldn't want him to draw my blood ever again  on my next app...ouch!!..thanks
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
It has been  three weeks since  the blood drawing and,few days ago, I developed a fever  of 99.5  few ,sore throat, and fatigue.the reason why I went to the doctor  last month was because I had low fever and sore throat and I was prescribed antibiotics.The sore throat went away after a couple of days , the appetite came back and  the fatigue disapperead in the next few days but ,a little over a couple of weeks later, I became sick again with sore thoat ,fever and this time complete anorexia  and I lost 5 pounds already.I was looking at one other forum and this expert dr.Frascino answer to an hiv+ anesthetician  ,regarding the risk of transmission to this anesthetician's patients, was that there is no risk" if universal precaution are used "...since in my case they were not used,and since I am feeling all the symptoms ,I 'm really worry..after all ,if his hands were contaminated and the venipuncture site contaminated by his hands the needle insertedbwould have provided a direct access  for whatever was "smeared "on the skin into the bloodstream,since seconds earlier he was holding vials with blood in them it is possible that he had touched blood...if not hiv some other bug because I completely got over that "flu" and now I am in bed again
Blank
239123_tn?1267651214
Something aside from HIV is causing your symptoms.  Your paranoid sounding concerns about the blood drawing techniques do not deserve further comment.  Thsi thread is over.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
300980_tn?1194933000
Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
,
239123_tn?1267651214
H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
How to Silence Your Inner Critic an...
Apr 16 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
1344197_tn?1392822771
Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank