Exposed to bodily fluids, what would YOU do?

  1. 1
    Last night while taking care of a patient, I was exposed to their bodily fluid. (I won't go into details, because it was kinda gross). I felt it hit my face, on my right cheek. I wasn't sure if it hit my eye or not, but immediately took my contacts off, and irrigated my eyes with water. This patient has known communicable diseases, so I was really freaked out. I told my charge, who said since I wasn't 100% sure it hit my eye, that rinsing it alone should be ok. I didn't feel comfortable with that, and ended up going to the ER for more aggressive irrigation. They also tested me for diseases. I was down there for longer than I thought I was going to be, and ended up giving report to the next oncoming nurse over the phone. I felt kinda bad leaving the floor short while I was in the ER, but my health comes first. What would you guys have done?
    dthfytr likes this.
  2. 5,076 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    Quote from naijanurse
    Last night while taking care of a patient, I was exposed to their bodily fluid. (I won't go into details, because it was kinda gross). I felt it hit my face, on my right cheek. I wasn't sure if it hit my eye or not, but immediately took my contacts off, and irrigated my eyes with water. This patient has known communicable diseases, so I was really freaked out. I told my charge, who said since I wasn't 100% sure it hit my eye, that rinsing it alone should be ok. I didn't feel comfortable with that, and ended up going to the ER for more aggressive irrigation. They also tested me for diseases. I was down there for longer than I thought I was going to be, and ended up giving report to the next oncoming nurse over the phone. I felt kinda bad leaving the floor short while I was in the ER, but my health comes first. What would you guys have done?
    That's silly. He/she is an idiot. Treatment for possible exposure = teatment for exposure.
    dragonfly55, mskate, JustaGypsy, and 2 others like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from hherrn
    That's silly. He/she is an idiot. Treatment for possible exposure = teatment for exposure.
    Agreed.

    I would have done exactly what you did, and raise questions about my charge's concern for staff wellbeing.
    dragonfly55 likes this.
  6. 2
    Your decision to go the the E.R is completely justifiable; nobody can question your decision on that matter. However, if you were not sure if you got hit in the eye, it sounds really low risk to me. What communicable diseases are we talking about here? I would like to briefly post some STATISTICAL facts regarding disease transmission. According to the CDC, "the risk after exposure of the eye, nose, or mouth to HIV-infected blood is estimated to be, on average, 0.1% (1 in 1,000). For Hep C, the risk following a blood exposure to the eye, nose or mouth is unknown, but is believed to be very small; however, HCV infection from blood splash to the eye has been reported." So, it looks like statistics are on your side here. Okay, let the "flaming" begin with non-factual statements from other members......
    ~*Stargazer*~ and merlee like this.
  7. 3
    You did exactly right. Good instinct on your part. Pre hospital providers all have tattooed on their butts "protect yourself first" because if you don't you'll end up being another patient needing care. They should stress it more for nurses. Too many facilities treat nurses as a disposable, replaceable commodity.
    dragonfly55, shaas, and Chin up like this.
  8. 2
    You did the right thing
    dragonfly55 and merlee like this.
  9. 2
    You absolutely did the right thing....charge nurse is either very cavalier with your health, or an idiot....I'm sure things would be different if she/he were the one exposed.
    dragonfly55 and merlee like this.
  10. 1
    I had a similar thing happen during a clincal in nursing school. I was taking out an IV (I hadn't placed it) and somehow the blood spurted and splashed across my face and into my eyes. This was right after her talking about her "dancing" job. Amazingly, I didn't freak out in front of the patient, and went to the bathroom, took our my contacts, and flushed my eyes. I had my clinical instructor there and she had me do the same thing you did, which was go to the ED for rapid testing. I also reported to the charge nurse about the incident and that I would be off the floor. It all turned out fine in the end. I had a year of blood testing, done over a span of every few months, and you may want to do that as well.
    I think you did exactly right.
    dragonfly55 likes this.
  11. 2
    You did exactly the right thing! For legal reason you also must file an incident report stating who was involved, what happened, what your actions where. In case you do end up contracting anything you are much better covered this way. You may also file a report exactly on what the charge nurse said. She may require more occupational health and safety education and with her current attitude poses a risk to other staff. This is not to blame anyone but to identify knowledge gaps and fill them.
    dragonfly55 and llg like this.
  12. 4
    Quote from naijanurse
    Last night while taking care of a patient, I was exposed to their bodily fluid. (I won't go into details, because it was kinda gross). I felt it hit my face, on my right cheek. I wasn't sure if it hit my eye or not, but immediately took my contacts off, and irrigated my eyes with water. This patient has known communicable diseases, so I was really freaked out. I told my charge, who said since I wasn't 100% sure it hit my eye, that rinsing it alone should be ok. I didn't feel comfortable with that, and ended up going to the ER for more aggressive irrigation. They also tested me for diseases. I was down there for longer than I thought I was going to be, and ended up giving report to the next oncoming nurse over the phone. I felt kinda bad leaving the floor short while I was in the ER, but my health comes first. What would you guys have done?
    Hmmm, well I guess I'm going to be the lone naysayer here. In the time between when your (possible) exposure first occurred, you flushed your eyes, spoke with your charge nurse, went to the ED, then received eye irrigation, I think that *if* (and odds are low) any transmission occurred, it would have already occurred by the time you got your eyes irrigated in the ED. I think the most significant outcome is that it made you feel better, but doubtful that it actually had any disease transmission preventing properties.

    As far as rapid testing goes, both HCV and HIV have incubation periods. The only thing accomplished by going to the ED and getting tested immediately is to determine that you aren't already infected. It has nothing to do with telling you whether disease transmission occurred during your (possible) exposure.

    I do think your charge nurse's attitude was a bit laissez faire, but it is reasonable that you could have waited to to to Employee Health on the next business day and have your blood drawn then, and be evaluated for risk of transmission. This is one of the many services that Employee Health provides.

    Before you ask, yes, I have experienced body fluid exposure. I know it's scary when this happens. However, I don't think it justified rushing off to the ED and leaving your floor down a nurse. You absolutely should have filled out whatever form is required, whether it be incident report or employee injury report, according to your facility's policy.

    Flame away. Just keep in mind that it's already been established that I am heartless, lack compassion, and am nuts.
    GrnTea, Nursetastic, Ashley_RN, and 1 other like this.


Top