It’s always shocking when we hear of people who have been injured with potentially contaminated needles with the associated risks of the spread of diseases.
We usually associate these cases with waste tips, playgrounds or run-down backstreets of inner city areas.
The last place any of us would associate them with is the expected safety and security of a hospital.
And yet ‘needle stick injuries’ are continuing to happen in hospitals across the UK.
The recent case of one of our clients illustrates this worrying trend.
Our client attended the University Hospital Lewisham in January 2012 with chest pains and a chest infection. She was reviewed, bloods were taken and she was taken for a chest x-ray.
On the way to the x-ray room a porter gave her a blanket which covered her up on the trolley whilst she had the x-ray and was taken back to the ward. Back on the ward she screamed out for a nurse as she felt a piece of needle stick into her fingers.
Investigations revealed that the needle was part of blood taking equipment – raising immediate concerns about potential risks of infection and contamination.
She was immediately given a course of anti-HIV medication which made her feel extremely nauseous.
Although further HIV and Hepatitis B and C tests proved negative, the worry in having to wait for the results, and the side-effects caused by the tests, left our client traumatised.
She has since received a settlement of £1,250 for the suffering she endured.
Solicitor Hayley Cawthorne comments: “It was obviously a very worrying time for our client and a traumatic experience. Having gone into the hospital to be treated in a safe and secure environment, there’s no way she should have been exposed to the dangers of potentially contaminated needles.”
Hayley adds: “We’ve handled a number of ‘needle stick injuries’ recently. These are the cases which we always remember as they’re something you wouldn’t expect to happen within the confines of a hospital. Patients expect to be away from any dangers when they’re being cared for by experienced health professionals.
“Falling standards and failures in patient safety and wellbeing need to be highlighted and addressed and we’d encourage anyone who has been exposed to incidents of this nature to contact us to discuss their claim.”