Reused Vials, Unsafe Injections Threatening Patients: CDC

THURSDAY July 12, 2012 -- Life-threatening but completely preventable infections are being contracted by patients in the United States because health care providers fail to follow safe-injection recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a new study.

The study details outbreaks that occurred in patients who received pain-relief treatments at two outpatient clinics in Arizona and Delaware this year. At least 10 patients were hospitalized with invasive Staphylococcus aureus or methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections. Other patients with infections received outpatient treatment with antibiotics.

One patient was found dead. The cause of death was listed as multiple drug overdoses, but invasive methicillin-resistant S. aureus could not be ruled out, according to the researchers.

At one clinic -- a pain-management practice -- injection-safety violations included reuse of single-dose/single-use medication vials meant for only one patient, as well as failure to wear face masks during spinal injections. Reuse of single-dose/single-use medication vials also occurred at the other clinic, an orthopedic practice, the researchers said.

The researchers stressed that medication in single-dose/single-use vials should be used only for a single patient as part of a single procedure, regardless of vial size.

The study is published in the July 13 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about injection safety.

Posted: July 2012


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