Needlestick Injuries

Suffered from a needlestick injury at work? Call 0800 122 3130

Needlestick injuriesNeedlestick injuries

Quick Claim Test

Fill out my online form.


Needlestick Injuries

Needlestick injuries are wounds typically caused by needles that accidently penetrate the skin. These types of injuries can occur when people use, dissemble or dispose of needles. If the needle is contaminated with blood or other body fluid, it is possible that it could transmit a number of infectious diseases, particularly blood-borne viruses. When this occurs in a work context, the term occupational exposure is used.

Needlestick injuries are most common in healthcare workers, but can also affect cleaners, carers, refuse collectors, tattoo artists and children who pick up used needles. In recent years there has been major concerns regarding the transmitting of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV through needlestick injuries.

In the UK, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) monitors the occupational exposure of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C to patients and healthcare workers. A report compiled by the HPA in 2012 stated that between 2002 and 2011, most occupational needlestick injuries involved those working in nursing professions. There was also a significant increase in injuries involving those in medical and dental professions.

How to prevent needlestick injuries

The HPA advises taking the following measures to avoid needlestick injuries:

  • Wash hands before and after contact with each patient and prior to putting on and after removing gloves.
  • Change gloves between patients.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning equipment before sterilisation or disinfection.
  • Cover any existing wounds, skin lesions and any breaks in exposed skin with waterproof dressings.
  • Where contact with blood is anticipated, wear gloves.
  • Avoid using sharp instruments where possible. Where usage is essential, exercise particular care in handling and disposal.
  • Avoid wearing open footwear in situations where blood could be split, or where sharp instruments are handled.
  • Clear up any spillage of blood promptly and disinfect all services.
  • Occupational health assessments should identify those people at higher risk of infection (e.g. eczema).
  • Ensure that advice is given regarding minimising any occupational health risk to which they may be exposed.
  • Follow safe procedures regarding the disposal of contaminated waste.

What can you do if you’re a victim of a needlestick injury

All employers have a responsibility to provide for the health and safety of their workers through the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. If you have suffered a needlestick injury through the negligence of your employer, contact Mercury Legal Online on 0800 122 3130. Alternatively complete our claim form and one of our claims experts will call you back to discuss your claim.

Fill out my online form.

Claiming For Medical Negligence Compensation

No Obligation Help

If you are unsure if you have a claim then call our team for free, no obligation advice on making a claim. They will ask you some simple questions about your exposure and will be able to tell you if you have a claim or not. Call 24/7 0800 122 3130.

NHS Complaints Investigations Are ‘Inadequate’

According to a study by the office of the health service ombudsman, more than 40% of NHS investigations into NHS patient complaints are simply not up to standard. They reviewed 150 cases of allegations of avoidable harm, or death, and found failings in the handling of 61 of those complaints by the NHS trusts in England. While the Government said it is working to create a ‘more open NHS culture’, the review looked into the quality of the investigations and the evidence that was relied upon, as well as the statements and records. The public administration select committee has called for the ombudsman; Dame Julie Mellor, to appear before them while they are looking into the issue of NHS complaints and clinical failure. Her office has been accused by many of failing patients; cases include a hospital that admitted there were mistakes made in the delivery of a baby only after the parents had paid £250 for an independent clinical review. In another case the family of a 36-year-old man, who died after a life-threatening condition was undiagnosed, were told that they would have to take legal action to find answers. The review being carried out by Dame Julie’s office found that 28 of the 150 cases should have been investigated as serious incidents. Situations like that of a 77 year-old man who died from sepsis two days after admission to hospital should have automatically triggered a ‘serious untoward incident’ but the findings were not identified in the hospital’s investigation. Dame Julie said: “When people make a complaint that they have been seriously harmed, they should expect it to... read more

New “duty of candour” guidelines introduced

New guidelines issued by the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council are advising doctors, nurses and midwives in the UK to be open and honest with patients should things go wrong. The new rules, known as a “duty of candour”, state that the individual doctor, nurse or midwife responsible for the mistake should apologise to the patient directly. Guidance was previously introduced on an organisational level back in April, requiring all NHS and private healthcare organisations to admit when they have made a mistake and apologise to the patient candidly. Now, these rules are being extended to individual medics, too. The BBC reports that the guidelines will apply to more than 950,000 doctors, nurses and midwives working in the UK and make clear that patients or their families should expect a face-to-face apology. They need explain what the mistake might mean for the patient’s health, admitting to their error as soon as reasonably possible. So what do these new guidelines mean going forwards? With a more open and honest culture in NHS and private healthcare organisations, it will be clear precisely where the negligence has occurred, on an individual rather than organisational level. This, in turn, could potentially reduce cases of medical negligence going forwards. Fiona Tinsley, Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Mercury Legal, said: “We are fully behind these new rules and hope that over time they will reduce the many cases of medical negligence occurring on a daily basis, as a result of increased visibility when things sadly do go wrong.” Jackie Smith, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, told the BBC: “[Nurses,... read more

11 Reasons Why Cancer Could be Misdiagnosed

Failure to recognise, identify or investigate symptoms associated with cancer Failure to administer the correct cancer testing when medically indicated by patient symptoms Improper or inappropriate carrying out of cancer testing, such as a biopsy or MRI scan Failure to correctly read or interpret cancer test results provided Failure to acknowledge or investigate medical recommendations Failure to refer a patient to a more qualified specialist where they lack the appropriate skills or expertise Treating a patient using procedures and processes that aren’t medically needed by the patient’s symptoms and current state Failure to provide quick and adequate follow-up care for treatment assessment Occasionally, the wrong diagnosis can be down to faulty screening equipment. There’s been cases where cancerous cells in tissue have been missed and abnormal cells have been labelled as cancer when they’re not. Some of the testing processes – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerised tomography (CT) sometimes fail to spot very small cancer cells Human error – often a medical professional such as your doctor can make a mistake Most cancers can be treated if they’re caught early, so getting the right diagnosis is vital. Indeed, Cancer Research UK estimates that around 50% of cancer sufferers are now surviving for 10 years or more but this could increase with improved diagnosis. Over 2,000 lung cancer patients are missing out on vital surgery every year in the UK that could save their lives, and 50% of those patients aren’t even offered an operation despite being diagnosed with the condition... read more