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Archive February 2019 XX, No. 2

Infection Prevention: 6 Unsafe Injection Practices Caught in the Act

6 Unsafe Injection Practices Caught in the Act

Phenelle Segal

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC


Jason Meehan
INJECTION SAFETY Is your staff violating basic infection control practices associated with the use of needle and syringe — like not wearing gloves?

Despite widespread coverage of high-profile outbreaks associated with unsafe injection practices, staff members who use needles and syringes continue to place patients at potential risk of bloodborne infection by violating basic infection control practices. A recent visit to a high-volume pain management facility with a short-staffed anesthesia department presented many examples of major breaches in safe injection practices that could endanger patients. We share them here in the hopes that you don't repeat these practices.

1Injectable medications previously drawn up in direct patient care areas were left on top of the anesthesia cart. Medications included sodium chloride and a syringe with a white milky substance (presumably propofol). We found them in an unattended operating room between procedures. Of course, proper practice is to store and access injectables in a non-patient care area if you're going to use them for more than one patient.

2An anesthesiologist carried a basket with several filled syringes — as well as some empty syringes that had been removed from their packages — from room to room. All syringes (empty and filled) had syringe caps on them, but filled syringes had been drawn up in the rooms (direct patient care areas) in advance of cases.

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