What should I do if a puncture injury occurs, resulting in bleeding?
This question was submitted by a general dentist: What should I do if a puncture injury occurs, resulting in bleeding?
Dr. Nita Mazurat, representing the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) has provided this quick initial response
All offices should have an Office Infection Control Manual with post-exposure protocol developed utilizing information from their Provincial Dental Association. Additionally, one person in the office should be designated to assist when occupational injuries occur.
When an injury involves exposure to a healthcare worker from a patient’s blood, or other high risk body fluids with visible blood, the dental worker must report the injury to the designated person in the practice as soon as possible. Steps to follow include administering basic first aid, ensuring the device involved in the injury is not reused on the patient, and determination if the event is a significant exposure which will require referral of the patient (in this case, the source person) and the healthcare worker (in this case, the exposed person) to an appropriate healthcare provider as soon as possible for evaluation and follow-up. This is generally performed in a hospital setting since most hospitals have protocols in place to manage risks and healthcare workers who have experienced blood transmission injuries. When the injury is not deemed to have resulted in transmission of blood, there is no requirement for blood testing of the source.
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