Meet Joe. To his family, his co-workers and
his community, he’s their one and only. But today, Joe is just one of many patients
in the hospital due to infection. If only safe injection practices had been
performed properly. It was right there in Standard Precautions, at the heart of CDC’s
evidence-based guidelines. All the precautions needed to help prevent infections in any healthcare
setting — all based on evidence — and all spelled out in detail.
If only the clinic that initially treated Joe had known. Or, maybe they thought safe
injection practices were no big deal … except it was a big deal for Joe. It all started with a pain in Joe’s hip.
So, he went to his orthopedic clinic … where he got an injection to ease his pain. That’s where things went wrong. The clinic
gave Joe a dose of medication from a single dose vial — a vial that had already been
opened and used. Since single dose vials lack preservatives, there was nothing to stop the
bacteria from growing once the vial was punctured. So the bacteria in the vial easily hitched
a ride with the injection that went deep into Joe’s hip. The infection spread quickly. Joe was rushed
to the hospital where he’s being treated with IV antibiotics. Now, these healthcare professionals are on
top of their game. They practice proper hand hygiene before handling
any medication. And they’re careful to prepare every injection
properly. In fact, there’s a designated clean medication area where injections are
drawn up and labeled just ahead of each individual patient’s needs. This space is away from
areas where patients are treated and where any used or soiled equipment and materials
might be. They also know that the patient himself is
one of those potential contaminants. Everything from Joe’s medication bag to the catheter
in his body is part of a single, interconnected system that’s directly or indirectly exposed
to Joe’s blood. None of this equipment can ever be used on another patient. The clinicians here think about that. They
even think about safety when they re-supply their medications, requesting the smallest
vials that meet their individual patients’ needs. They also consult with pharmacists
and others to learn whether pre-filled syringes or other “ready-to-deliver” unit-dose
packaging is available. You see, this team knows that single means
single — the one and only dose, syringe and needle for this one and only Joe. When it’s time to prepare a patient’s
injection or infusion, they choose an unopened single-dose vial and swab the rubber septum
to disinfect it. Then they use a new sterile syringe and sterile
needle — for every patient and every injection. After that one-time use, every syringe and
needle is discarded. The single dose vial is also discarded, even if there’s a little
medication left. Without preservatives, the risk of contamination is just too high and
the need to protect the patient is way too important. Thankfully, Joe is getting better. And now,
everyone knows: if you want to be part of his healthcare team, you have to follow safe
injection practices … all of them … every time. So, don’t wait. Learn more. Go to One-and-Only
Campaign.org website and review the materials there. Double check your practices against
the checklist. Take an Injection Safety CME. Talk about it in staff meetings. Speak up
if you see an unsafe practice. And always, always, always use a sterile syringe, needle
and single dose vial once and only once … Because you only get one opportunity to protect
the one and only Joe.

11 thoughts on “Safe Injection Practices – How to Do It Right”

  1. If you really work in a hospital without Internet, you can get software to download youtube videos, either standalone or addons for your browser.

  2. it seems to me that single doses of medication come in single dose vials. Where exactly was this being done in a third world country.

  3. Excellent effort by CDC team. Although very difficult in 3rd world countries, yes still need to work on for the sake of patient safety.Chalange for 3rd world countries care workrs.
    It will helpful to learn for health care workers. Thank you so much. Rahat Musroor

  4. But sterile technique requires sterile room, gloves, mask, cap, and gown. How can one follow the rules if all possible pathogens aren't prevented?

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