Accidental blood and body fluid exposure among doctors


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Abstract

AimTo study the epidemiology and time trends of blood and body fluids (BBF) exposures among hospital doctors.MethodsA 3-year study was carried out using data from the Exposure Prevention Information Network of four teaching hospitals in the UK.ResultsOne hundred and seventy-five cases of BBF exposures in doctors were reported over the 3-year study period. Eighty-one (46%) occurred in senior doctors and 94 (54%) in junior doctors. Junior doctors had a higher rate of BBF exposures compared to senior doctors: 13 versus 4 incidents per 100 person-years, respectively (relative risk 3, 95% confidence interval 2–4). The most frequent setting for BBF exposures among senior doctors was the operating theatre/recovery (59%). Among junior doctors, it was the patient room (48%). The commonest original reason for use of sharps by junior doctors was the taking of blood samples (42%). Among senior doctors, it was suturing (41%).ConclusionWhile ongoing training efforts need to be directed towards both junior and senior doctors, our data suggest that junior doctors are at higher risk of BBF exposures and may need particular attention in prevention strategies. An improvement in the safety culture in teaching hospitals can be expected to reduce the number of BBF exposures.

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