Public service announcement: Justine Bednarski is a closeted shopaholic (pun intended). Aside from not owning enough hangers for the surplus of tops I have somehow accumulated, my kryptonite lies in the hands of the shoe gods. Although trendy, my riding boots and strappy wedges weren’t quite the style of shoe appropriate for the pre-clinical and clinical settings of dental school.
“Adam, stop suturing. You’re bleeding.” A look of terror flushed over me as I removed the needle from the extraction socket. I recalled my patient’s mention of Hepatitis B and immediately panicked. Thoughts of possible co-infection with HIV or Hepatitis C set in. My first sharps injury, and there I stood, helpless and afraid, as I bled from a cut to my thumb.
We learn all about these types of occupational exposures in the classroom. But sometimes, when faced with a real-life situation requiring a rapid decision, it can be hard to know how best to react. While we work carefully to avoid these incidents, they can and will happen. It’s our duty to protect our patients and ourselves by quickly managing and accurately reporting these exposures as they occur.