Device shields worker from needlestick injury


Intravenous products: Infection Control Today report “Radiologist Dr. Bruce Hedgepeth of St. John’s, part of Sisters of Mercy Health System, knew there had to be a better way to prevent himself and his colleagues from a common health care workplace danger — accidental needlesticks. Needlestick injuries are hazardous for healthcare workers due to the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including hepatitis and HIV. These injuries not only cause physical pain, but also lasting emotional and psychological stress to the employee.

Its a problem so prevalent that the federal government passed a law requiring safer syringes and blood-drawing devices in medical facilities across the nation. But still, 10 years after the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, a 2008 study by the American Nurse Association showed nearly two-thirds of nurses reported being accidentally stuck. And a recent study shows that injuries actually have increased 6.5 percent in surgical settings.

Hedgepeths idea was to create a device that provides a physical, protective barrier between the needle and the holders hand. He took that idea to Mercy Research and Development (R&D). The R&D team works closely with clinicians and co-workers to identify areas of patient care that could be improved and strives to create innovative, affordable solutions. Together with Mercy R&Ds multidisciplinary team, Hedgepeth invented Safety Shield, a patent-pending device that protects the holder of the medication vial from the needle.”

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