Unsafe Injections Put at Least 130,000 Patients at Risk of Serious Illness

Safe Injection Practices Coalition Releases New Tool to Help Clinicians Ensure Everyone in Their Practices Knows and Follows Safe Care Guidelines

Atlanta, GA [May 30, 2012] – A new study reveals that since 2001, at least 130,000 patients had potential exposure to hepatitis and HIV due to unsafe injection practices in U.S. healthcare settings.  The study, published in the May edition of Medical Care, details 35 separate patient notification events involving at least 17 states between 2001-2011.  These events were caused by a variety of unsafe injection practices including reuse of syringes, mishandling of medication vials and containers, reuse of single-dose vials, reuse of insulin pens, and narcotics theft.

To help protect patients from this ongoing problem, the Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC) – a group of medical and industry experts led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – released a Healthcare Provider Toolkit that educates doctors, nurses, and other medical staff about safe injection practices.  The toolkit, ideal for staff meetings, includes a narrated PowerPoint presentation titled Injection Safety: Every Provider’s Responsibility, an injection safety checklist, posters, brochures, and a misperceptions flyer.

"I've seen first-hand the devastation caused when single-use items and medications are reused on multiple patients.  My own wife contracted Hepatitis C through contaminated saline flushes during chemotherapy," said Thomas A. McKnight, MD of Fremont, NE.  "This new toolkit is the perfect way, in a busy family practice like ours, to educate staff about the absolute importance of injection safety and of following CDC guidelines.  I encourage all healthcare providers to share this essential 'meeting-in-a-box' at their next staff meeting or grand rounds event."

The toolkit is part of the SIPC's One & Only Campaign, which assists individuals and organizations with educating healthcare providers and patients about safe injection practices.  By practicing the One & Only Campaign's slogan, One Needle, One Syringe, and Only One Time for each and every injection, the risk of contracting hepatitis and other serious infections through medical injection will be greatly reduced. 

“Outbreaks and research studies tell us that many healthcare providers believe they follow safe injection practices, but when we look closer, they are not actually following accepted standards,” said Joe Perz, epidemiologist at the CDC.  “It is critical that all clinicians fully understand and implement CDC’s safe injection practice guidelines.  Syringe reuse and related errors put patients at risk for life-threatening illnesses and must be eliminated.”

Founded in June 2008, SIPC is led by the CDC and includes the following partners: Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc (APIC), BD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC Foundation, Covidien, HONOReform Foundation, Hospira, Institute for Safe Medication Practices, MEDRAD, National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), Nebraska Medical Association, Nevada State Medical Association (NSMA), Premier healthcare alliance, and U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safe Use Initiative (advisor).