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Healthcare workers and Hep C.
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Healthcare workers and Hep C.

Are there any healthcare workers out there with Hep C and do your employers know of your condition?  I've gotten mixed messages as to whether the hospital, due to liability concerns would continue to be allowed to employ me.
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Avatar_m_tn
Here is the CDC website reading healthcare workers and HCV.
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/c/faq.htm#3hShould

a quote from the site:
HCV-infected healthcare workers be restricted in their work?
No, there are no recommendations to restrict a healthcare worker who is infected with HCV. The risk of transmission from an infected healthcare worker to a patient appears to be very low. As recommended for all healthcare workers, those who are HCV positive should follow strict aseptic technique and standard precautions, including appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments.
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30678_tn?1217992847
Hi, I was a paramedic and worked for 3 yrs after dx with Hep C and did 48 wks tx and worked, relapsed and continued to work until I started 72 wks of tx, thats when the brain fog and the tx had worked me over enough the Doc took me off the truck, I was honest with him, but it was his licence I was working under, and I understand and agree with his decision, too many things happening in a short period of time, and a life depending on my decisions in a fog, and fatigue isn't fair to the patient, and I was honest in my evaluation of my own performance. As a health care provider in another field it might be different at a slower pace. I am on extended leave until tx over and will see what happens. Everyone has been very supportive, and even reccomended a lawer to help me get disability, because it happened on the job and even paying my Blue Cross until I'm able to return or medicare kicks in, I hope you have as good of experience, I've found health care providers to be much more knowledeable of the disease, and more openminded.
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164592_tn?1222910374
I am a dental hygienist.  I was very concerned about informing my boss in the beginning. I also manage our clinic.  We are a large, very busy pediatric practice.  I have worked for the same man for 20 years this month so he is not only my boss but also a friend.  Still, I was worried about his reaction.  I have been very lucky.  He has given me nothing but support.  In fact when I was on treatment (I was a non-reponder) he was my treatment partner.
From what I hear, not everyone is as lucky as I have been.
My doctors have all told me that as long as you use PPE and other precautions which should be used whether you have Hep C or not there should be no problem. Keep in mind though that I was not giving out medications, etc.  I did have some brain fog but it wasn't too bad.   More just forgetting what I was saying mid sentence!
I think being in the healthcare profession is an added worry when you're diagnosed. When I was informed that I had Hepatitis C my first thought was.."what about my career?"  I'm single with a mortgage.  That was my biggest concern and once I was able to get past that hurdle the rest was easy in comparison.
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146021_tn?1237208487
I too am a healthcare worker, I work in a SNF unit, rehab dept.  My doctor initially said something about my low risk of blood to blood contact and I reminded her that I am licensed to perform sharp debridement on wounds. I think I carry a very low risk as I am very careful, however I don't know how my employer would view it. I don't feel obligated to tell.
I would think that your employer would have to continue employment if you choose to tell.  When I worked in pediatrics we were told that we might be treating HIV babies but by law their privacy was protected. I think the law works both ways.
I use standard precautions with any body fluids, I'm sure you do too.
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Avatar_n_tn
i am a nurse, working in long-term care.  my employer knew of my hep c, hard to miss when going thru treatment.  i used the standard universal precautions, and kept all scratches, etc covered.  we had no issues
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Avatar_n_tn
Has anyone gone through nursing school and then been hired even though they have Hep C ?
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Avatar_m_tn
I think your concerns about "brain fog" from interferon interfering with calculations is legitimate. I could easily mess that up. Plus it is hard to notice your mistakes. The cognitive issues seem to affect me pretty profoundly, I know everyone is different but this is a common complaint you hear. In a situation involving calculating dosages it could be dangerous. I'd worry that if something did go wrong, you could run into complicated issues, work related and even legally if you had not notified your superiors you were on the drugs.
That's a tough position to be in.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks everyone for your responses.  Actually no one in my Dep't. knows I have this.  One doctor advised me not to tell anyone.  I, of course am very careful.  I very often "double-glove" and never start IV's or draw blood anymore asking instead for one of my co-workers to do that.  It's easy to do that where I work (in an in-patient recovery room in a large teaching hospital).  Usually when we get a patient from the OR there is so much to do that everyone helps each other so performing certain tasks probably goes un-noticed.  I'm considering treatment in the Spring and am concerned over many things, mainly the brain fog since we do have to calculate drug doses frequently and in an emergency situation, I'd be afraid of screwing up or looking "fogged out".  I guess I'm anticipating and fearing the worst of the possible side-effects!  Thanks again for all the info.  I'm going to see Dr. McHutchinson at Duke tomorrow a.m. and will keep you all posted.
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Avatar_n_tn
Are you currently on tx?  I don't remember and would have to go back many posts.  Had my app't. with Dr. McHutchinson today and as expected he couldn't divulge any info. on the trials and also said he didn't have any info. at this point as they were still "blinded".  I did set up a time for a bx. though (Nov. 13th), something I've been putting off.  I've had several Fibrosure tests done which showed mild inflammation but he wants a bx. for comparison.  I think if I need to or decide to tx. then I'll see if I need to notify my immediate supervisor because of all the concerns I talked about.  It really is a tough position as I need my job.
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