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Is Your Doctor Using Dirty Needles? Attorney Chris Davis Says It Is Not Uncommon

Posted on Jan 08, 2013

Following a recently released report from USA Today regarding unsafe injection practices at healthcare facilities in the U.S., Seattle attorney Christopher Davis wants to warn patients of the potential dangers and risks that come from being treated at one of these facilities.

In 2001, National Quality Forum CEO Ken Kizer, MD first introduced the phrase “never event” in reference to outrageous medical errors – such as operating on the wrong body part, for example – that should never occur in a healthcare setting in the United States. The most up-to-date list of these inexcusable mistakes references 29 individual never events grouped into seven categories: surgical, product or device, patient protection, care management, environmental, radiologic and criminal.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, included in the list of never events is “patient death or serious injury associated with the use of contaminated drugs, devices, or biologics provided by the health care setting.” However, according to a recently released report from USA Today, more than 150,000 Americans have been exposed to unsafe injection practices since 2001.

“I believe a big part of the issue is that very few people would even think to worry about whether their doctor is using dirty needles to treat them,” says medical malpractice attorney Chris Davis of the Davis Law Group in Seattle. “However the statistics clearly show that dirty needles are an ongoing problem in this country and are putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk.”

Disposable syringes were introduced to the American healthcare system more than 50 years ago, yet the number of unsafe injection practices has especially grown in more recent years. According to the USA Today report, two-thirds of the more than 150,000 unsafe injections have occurred in the past four years alone.

Gina Pugliese, an infection control specialist from the Premier Safety Institute, says in the article that approximately one percent of all clinicians reuse syringes. She says that although these practices are well-known as posing a risk to patients and violate standard protocols, doctors see it as a way to save time and money.

The article also claims that at least 49 disease outbreaks resulted from the unsafe injection practices, in addition to thousands of innocent victims who now suffer from life-threatening infections and viruses such as hepatitis, HIV and MRSA.

“It really troubles me that an innocent patient can go in for routine treatment and days later be diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or condition,” Davis added. “These things should never happen in the first place, but families across the country are suffering because of the negligent actions of many healthcare providers.”

Davis says anyone who is going to be treated with a syringe should make sure the provider complies with standardized practices regarding the disposal of needles and syringes. He adds that asking these important questions is the best way for patients to be their own best advocates and potentially avoid being victimized.

About Chris Davis

Christopher M. Davis, founder of the Davis Law Group, has been a licensed attorney in the state of Washington since 1993. He has tried dozens of personal injury cases to verdict and has successfully handled and resolved hundreds of accident claims. He has been a Washington ‘Super Lawyer' for seven years in a row for his expertise and success in litigating personal injury claims. You can learn more about the firm by visiting: http://www.DavisLawGroupSeattle.com.