Posted at: 06/25/2012 3:06 PM
| Updated at: 06/25/2012 5:38 PM
By: Benita Zahn
"You need to be very meticulous in your sterile technique." says Dr. Guthrie Birkhead, deputy commissioner of public health for New York's department of health. He's determined to end outbreaks of infection - or the threat of an outbreak because of someone is sloppy when handling needles, syringes, medication vials and i.v. tubing. Most often, says Birkhead, the problems happen in clinics and doctor's offices.
"We have multi- dose vials of medicine" says Birkhead, noting that " Once you enter that vial you have to be very careful not to enter that vial again .. only use a sterile syringe once to enter that vial."
Since 2007 more than 135,000 New Yorkers were notified they had been exposed to Hepatis C , Hepatitis B and or HIV because those protocols weren't followed - or because sterile techniques weren't used with i.v. solutions.
"Once a syringe is even attached to i.v. tubing that's attached to a patient, that syringe is considered to be contaminated and once that syringe has gone back and gotten a medicine out of a vial of medication that vial is assumed to be contaminated." says Birkhead.
It's not clear how many New Yorkers may have been infected.
But the push to protect patients is nationwide. New York has been getting funds from the C.D.C. for the past three years to get the message out - one needle - used one time -only.
And Dr. Birkhead wants patients to know it's not only okay, but important to speak up and ask questions when they're getting an injection.