The International Sharps Injury Prevention Society (ISIPS) website says that every year one out of five healthcare workers suffers a needlestick injury. That statistic agrees well with another article that mentions an annual rate of approximately 19 sharps injuries per 100 hospital workers. Two articles say that approximately 385,000 needlestick injuries (NSI) occur in U.S. hospitals each year.* It is estimated that approximately 600,000 NSIs are suffered by U.S. healthcare workers in an array of healthcare settings that include medical clinics, doctor’s offices as well as hospitals. Nurses are the most frequent victims of NSI. Mark Cichocki estimates that needlestick injuries cause approximately 1,000 infections per year of three diseases (hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV).
As “Safer Sharps in a Dangerous World,” an article in Medical Laboratory Observer (December 2012, pp. 32-33) noted, “Needlestick injuries are not limited to nurses and doctors, but also affect paramedics, ambulance drivers, correctional facility personnel, firefighters, sanitation workers and others.” There is also the problem of under-reporting. A great many medical journal articles have noted that needlestick injuries to healthcare workers are under-reported. By some estimates, they are vastly under-reported.
The first edition of the book Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction (pp. 156-157), author Barry C. Lynn says: “A study by a team of Massachusetts health officials . . . shows that the total number of needlesticks is not declining [after the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act was signed into law in November 2000 (Public Law 106-430)]. What is growing is the percentage of needlesticks caused by unsafe “safety” syringes.” Author Barry Lynn obviously is alluding to some so-called “safety” syringes that are safe in name only and that are sometimes even more dangerous than syringes that contain no safety-engineered feature whatsoever. In some instances, the very names of products (even if trademarked) are misleading; just simply having the words “safe” or “safety” in a product’s name guarantees nothing at all. The Latin phrase caveat emptor comes to mind, and its (good common-sense) English translation, “Let the buyer beware.”
*Nancy J. Williams, et al., “Needlestick Injury Surveillance During Mass Vaccination Clinics,” AJIC, vol. 40, p. 768; and Lisa Black, “Chinks in the Armor: Percutaneous Injuries from Hollow Bore Safety-Engineered Sharps Devices,” AJIC, vol. 41, p. 427.