What are needlestick injuries?
Needlestick injuries, also called sharps injuries, are a serious problem in Illinois for nurses and other healthcare providers. Estimates of how many of these injuries occur per year vary greatly, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that 600,000 to 800,000 needlestick injuries occur each year in the United States. Whether you are a nurse or a hospital who employs healthcare providers, the Chicago lawyers at the Ankin Law Office can get you the help you need to deal with the effects of needlestick injuries.
Causes and effects of needlestick injuries
Learning about when needlestick injuries are likely to occur for Illinois healthcare workers is crucial to protecting yourself. Sharps injuries are likely to happen in several different circumstances. Recapping of needles has been identified as a common source of injury, although this practice is now prohibited by OSHA unless absolutely necessary. Injuries also frequently occur when a healthcare worker passes a needle to another employee or when hollow bore or “butterfly” needles are used.
Each of these injuries comes at great cost. Nurses who experience needlestick injuries suffer from not only the physical effects that can accompany the puncture but also the risk of infection by blood-borne pathogens. In addition to the physical risks, needlestick injuries carry a high degree of emotional and psychological stress, since the injured employee might have to endure long-lasting uncertainty about whether the stick transmitted any disease. At Ankin Law, we understand the pain and confusion you are experiencing and will help you understand all your legal rights and options. We also understand that, beyond the physical and emotional harm, needlestick injuries cause financial harm from lost work time and medical treatment.
Your rights after a needlestick injury
If you are a Chicago area healthcare worker and the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act applies to your employer, the Ankin Law Office can also help you understand what your employer’s legal obligations are to you under this law.
Both employees and employers should take action to combat needlestick injuries. Employees who work in an environment where there is the possibility of a needle stick should determine:
- what steps to take to prevent an injury, and
- what steps to take if an injury does occur.
Your employer, on the other hand, should learn:
- what the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act requires of them, and
- what they can do to implement those requirements quickly and effectively.
If you or a loved one in the Chicago, Illinois area has experienced a needlestick or sharps injury, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Chicago area lawyers of Ankin Law at (312) 600-0000 for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, including Cook, Lake, Will and DuPage Counties.