Outpatient Surgery Magazine

The Power to Prevent SSIs - June 2017 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 119 of 132

dent. "Sorry to bother you with this," I said, "but I cut myself during the surgery and I'm here to test you for HIV." Her response buckled my knees. "You know," she said, "I've been meaning to ask for that test, because I recently found out my husband is an IV drug user." I had a wife and 2 young children at home, and at the time there were no effective therapies available for HIV, so you can imagine the dark thoughts that raced through my mind during the 4-hour wait for the test result. Thankfully, it was negative. But that near miss forever changed my views on sharps safety and drove home the importance of doing all I can to protect myself, my colleagues and my patients. That meant adopting blunt suture needles and safety scalpels. It also meant double-gloving and hands-free instrument passing. Here's how you can incorporate those technolo- gies and techniques into your routine and eliminate sharps injuries from your ORs, something I stress to the facility leaders and surgeons I work with as a surgical safety consultant. 1 Blunt suture needles Blunt suture needles hit the market soon after my HIV scare and I began using them in every procedure. The first generation of needles was frankly too blunt; you had to really push to get the suture through fascia. Surgeons, including me, voiced their frustra- tions to the needle manufacturers, who made improvements so now you don't have to push any harder than you would with traditional needles to pass suture through internal tissue. In fact, when I was try- ing to convince my partners to use blunt suture needles, I'd secretly hand them one during surgery and they'd continue working without realizing that it wasn't a conventional needle. 1 2 0 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • J U N E 2 0 1 7

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