On 12/21/05, I was working a different shift than normal. Nicely, I was still working with another Paramedic.

We are dispatched to an MVA, pickup truck vs. pickup truck. There was an expected amount of preholiday traffic and the fire department was already on scene and had the pt on a backboard & c-collared when we arrived. This was our only patient from this scene and I begin care in the back of our truck. This patient was not wearing a seatbelt and hit the side of another truck at about 35-40 miles per hour. There was steering wheel deformity and a small spider web like fracture on the windshield right where the pt's head hit.

The pt's a 44yo male, alert & oriented, denies any loss of consciousness. We take vital signs, all within "normal" ranges. The pt has abrasions to both shins and round bruise on his abdomen that's the same size as the steering wheel. The pt's abdomen is distended but the pt states this is normal for him.

I start an 18 gauge IV in the pt's left arm while my partner places the pt on O2 and on the monitor.

All was going well until...

I was pulling the needle back out of the catheter. The design of the catheters we use has us back the needle out into the handle while still attached to the catheter. Once the needle is all the way out, it locks into place and reduces the chance of an accidental needle stick. The thing is, I had about 1cm of needle left to draw back when my partner placed the monitor lead on the pt's abdomen. The pt jerked his arm back, removing the catheter from the needle I was holding. The pt then immediately jerked back. The remaining needle then went through my glove and entered the tip of my right index finger.


I hooked the line I had started to the pt so that he would stop bleeding out the now open catheter. I then removed my glove, cleaned my finger with an alcohol wipe and put on a new glove. I explained the the pt what had happened and apologized for my momentary outburst of expletives. I then called my supervisor to report the exposure.


All the pt's tests came back negative as well as mine. There was one interesting result. My resistance to HepB was not as high as expected for someone who has gone though the series of vaccination shots. So, I am being offered a booster shot to hopefully remedy that. At least I know and will get the booster. At least one good thing came out of this.


I was pissed at myself the whole night. The amount of paperwork was amazing. But, mostly I was pissed and worried out the "what if's". Definitely have to enjoy this job and be as careful as possible at all times. Next time, the monitor can wait until the needle is gone...


Blogger Stacey said...

Wow. I am so glad everything was negative.
It is an INSANE amount of paper work. My partner got stuck a couple weeks ago and we sat in the hospital for about 2 hours doing all the paper work/blood tests.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very decent of you to refrain from talking about the actions of your partner. But, I'm a bit curious how you handled the "learning" of this incident with that person.


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