Index Patient’s Details Are Important
Even though needlestick injuries are rarer in non-medical staff it is important to provide timely medical treatment to affected persons. Uncertainty does, however, exist in incidents outside hospitals. Often, first aiders are exposed to the risk of infection in the setting of car crashes, when they try to free victims from vehicles in spite of bloody injuries and to enable them to have first aid. In spite of gloves and caution, the first aiders may contract injuries and come into intensive contact with the blood from the index persons.
If first aiders have noted down the names of the crash victim and the contact person then it is unproblematic to obtain the index patient’s blood. However, if this was omitted in the course of events then it is almost impossible to clarify the situation, because police stations do not give out the names of accident victims. Only when those affected are admitted on an inpatient basis, personal data can be identified among doctors and blood specimens obtained for diagnostic evaluation. Sometimes the first aider’s solicitor may be able to get hold of the data of the index person, but this is not certain. If the crash victim has died in hospital it is impossible to obtain patient data or blood.
It should be possible to furnish the trauma surgeon dealing with the case, the leader of the fire brigades, or the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk, THW) with the authority to directly gauge the name of the index person in such scenarios and to arrange for a timely blood sample. Ultimately, medical staff are under obligation to safeguard first aiders’ prophylaxis even in difficult scenarios.
Dr. med. Wladimir Teterin
Facharzt für Medizinische Mikrobiologie,
Conflict of interest statement
The author declares that no conflict of interest exists.
|1.||Himmelreich H, Rabenau HF, Rindermann M, Stephan C, Bickel M, Marzi I, Wicker S: The management of needlestick injuries. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2013; 110(5): 61–7 VOLLTEXT|