Needlestick injuries and needle disposal in Minnesota physicians' offices

Joseph Thurn, Karen Willenbring, Kent Crossley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because little is known about needlestick injury and needle disposal in non-hospital settings, we surveyed physicians' offices in Minnesota. Recapping of needles was frequent (51.1%, 72 of 141) and injuries had occurred during the past year in 44.0% of offices. When of known cause, needlesticks were most common during blood drawing and recapping (52.0%, 13 of 25). Small offices more often recapped needles, but only metropolitan small offices reported more frequent injuries. Only 37.6% of offices used a protocol for management of injuries, and in less than half (45.4%) was physician evaluation routine. Although most offices used plastic containers and a majority (73.0%) incinerated or autoclaved needles prior to disposal, small offices more often disposed of sharps in their routine solid waste. Larger metropolitan offices more consistently followed current recommendations for handling and disposing of needles. There is a need for education efforts to address these issues for physicians and their office staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-579
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Medicine
Volume86
Issue number5 C
DOIs
StatePublished - 1989

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