Becton Dickinson And Needle Sticks Case Study Analysis

Summary Case of Becton Dickinson and Needle SticksDuring the 1990s, the AIDS epidemic posed peculiarly acute dilemmas for healthworkers. After routinely removing an intravenous system, drawing blood, or delivering aninjection to an AIDS patient, nurses could easily stick themselves with the needle they wereusing. “Rarely a day goes by in any large hospital where a needle stick incident is not reported. “In fact, needle stick injuries accounted for about 80 percent of reported occupational exposure tothe AIDS virus among health care workers. It was conservatively estimated in 1991 that about 64health care workers were infected with the AIDS virus each year as a result of needle stickinjuries.AIDS was not the only risk posed by needle stick injuries. Hepatitis C, and other lethaldiseases were also being contracted through accidental needle sticks. In 1990, the Center forDisease Control (CDC) estimated that at least 12,000 health care workers were annually exposedto blood contaminated with the hepatitis B virus, and of these 250 died as a consequence.Because the hepatitis C virus had been identified only in 1988, estimates for infection rates ofhealth care workers were still guesswork but were estimated by some observers to be around9,600 per year. In addition to AIDS hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, needle stick injuries can alsotransmit numerous viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infection, as well as toxic drugs or otheragents that are delivered through a syringe and needle. The cost of all such injuries was estimatedat $400 million to $1 billion a year.Several agencies stepped in to set guidelines for nurses, including the OccupationalSafety and Health Administration (OSHA). On December 6, 1991, OSHA required hospitals andother employers of health workers to (a) make sharps containers (safe needle containers)available to workers, (b) prohibit the practice of recapping needle by holding the cap in one handinserting the needle with the other, and (c) provide information and training on needle stickprevention and training on needlestick prevention to employees.

During the 1990s, the AIDS epidemic posed peculiarly acute dilemmas for health workers. After routinely
removing an intravenous system, drawing blood, or delivering an injection to an AIDS patient, nurses
could easily stick themselves with the needle they were using. “Rarely a day goes by in any large hospital
where a needle stick incident is not reported. “ In fact, needlestick injuries accounted for about 80 percent
of reported occupational exposure to the AIDS virus among health care workers.2 It was conservatively
estimated in 1991 that about 64 health care workers were infected with the AIDS virus each year as a
result of needlestick injuries.
AIDS was not the only risk posed by needlestick injuries. Hepatitis C, and other lethal diseases were also
being contracted through accidental needlesticks. In 1990, the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
estimated that at least 12,000 health care workers were annually exposed to blood contaminated with the
hepatitis B virus, and of these 250 died as a consequence.4 Because the hepatitis C virus had been
identified only in 1988, estimates for infection rates of health care workers were still guesswork but were
estimated by some observers to be around 9,600 per year. In addition to AIDS hepatitis B, and hepatitis
C, needlestick injuries can also transmit numerous viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infection, as well
as toxic drugs or other agents that are delivered through a syringe and needle. The cost of all such
injuries was estimated at $400 million to $1 billion a year.
Several agencies stepped in to set guidelines for nurses, including the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA). On December 6, 1991, OSHA required hospitals and other employers of health
workers to (a) make sharps containers (safe needle containers) available to workers, (b) prohibit the
practice of recapping needle by holding the cap in one hand inserting the needle with the other, and (c)
provide information and...

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