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The Impact of Unsafe Injection Practices in U.S. Healthcare Settings

More than 150,000 patients have been impacted by unsafe injection practices since 2001. Breakdowns in proper infection control often involve providers reusing needles, syringes or single-dose medication vials, all of which are meant for one patient and one procedure. These breaches can cause irreparable damage exposing patients to bloodborne illnesses, such as hepatitis and HIV, and to life-threatening bacterial infections. Although safe injection practices represent very basic infection control measures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely identifies and investigates outbreaks associated with deficient practices.

  • Since 2001, at least 48 outbreaks have occurred that CDC is aware of: 21 of these outbreaks involved transmission of hepatitis B or hepatitis C, and the other 27 represented outbreaks of bacterial infections, most of which involved invasive bloodstream infections. All these outbreaks were not from intrinsically contaminated products received from a pharmacy or drug company.
  • CDC released a table of select recent outbreaks and patient notification events that occurred in a variety of settings, including primary care clinics, pediatric offices, ambulatory surgical centers, pain clinics, imaging facilities, oncology clinics, and even health fairs.
  • The One & Only Campaign aims to eradicate outbreaks from unsafe medical injections by raising awareness among patients and healthcare providers about proper practices. The campaign is a public health effort produced by the SIPC, a collaboration of several medical societies, state health departments, private medical companies, and patient advocates led by the CDC.

Through targeted education and awareness efforts, the One & Only Campaign empowers patients and healthcare providers to insist on nothing less than safe injections – every time, for every patient. Since 2009, the campaign has developed toolkits and materials for providers and patients, including a clinician toolkit, a checklist, posters, a video, and a continuing education webinar. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC) have also promoted awareness of safe injection practices at a wide variety of national and state meetings, conferences, and training activities.

Selected Quotes

“The three-point rule is simple: Use needles, syringes, and single-dose medication vials only one time, for one patient. Patients and healthcare providers must insist on these infection control basics to avoid serious infections.” – Dr. Joseph Perz, DrPH, MA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Safe injection practices are basic but they are not optional – they are every provider’s responsibility.” – Dr. Michael Bell, MD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Patients deserve safe care. Many patients who contract infections through a reused needle, syringe, or single-dose vial are already ill and receiving treatment for cancer, chronic pain, or a host of other conditions. We must be able to count on healthcare providers to heal and protect us. When healthcare workers follow CDC’s safe injection practices, problems are prevented. I encourage patients to speak up and request One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time.” – Evelyn McKnight, MD

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/dpk-unsafe-injections.html

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