Physicians Leaving Sharps Behind

  1. :angryfire I'm trying to find some research on how hospitals or nurses are dealing with physicians leaving sharps for other staff to clean up. Not so much on a personal level but on a hospital wide administrative level. Can anyone point out any discussions on here, research links or plans of action to change a dangerous culture in my hospital? :angryfire
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   nursemaa
    They do the same thing at my hospital, guess their mother never taught them to clean up their own mess!! I also love it when docs rip off a dressing to look at the wound, then walk away with the wound uncovered, soiled dressing laying on the bed...sometimes they don't even tell anyone they took the dressing off and the nurse or aide finds it like that! :angryfire

    We could write a policy that they have to take care of sharps, etc but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't follow it. I'd also be interested to know if other organizations do anything about it.
  4. by   athomas91
    that is absolutely unacceptable...and most up to date hospitals DO have policies on such things....as soon as the MD is done...look at the area -if you see sharps - tell them to clean up their sharps...usually they are apologetic and quickly remedy their error.

    in all reality...they could be sued for leaving a sharp lying out if you were to get stuck.
  5. by   teeituptom
    Had one Phys who was always leaving sharps and bloody guazes behind, Untill..............

    He had a favorite chair he always used
    I coated the seat of the chair with itching powder
    he was in misery for the rest of the shift
    and no sympathy from any of us

    he doesnt leave sharps out anymore
  6. by   suzanne4
    Most ERs and ORs have cameras. Document it and submit the pictures to Risk Management. This usually does the trick. But I like the thought of using "itching" powder. Would be great for a few of the docs that I used to work with.
  7. by   shodobe
    I work in the OR and we do alot of procedure that aren't really surgical in nature, IE- catheter placements, such as CVPs, Ash Splits, tesios, things like that. I do have a few surgeons who will clean up after themselves, but I would rather do it myself. I will know that the sharps are disposed of properly and not put in the trash accidently. I don't mind cleaning up after them because they are friends of mine and I have also been doing this so long, over 27 years, I am from the "old school". The guys and gals I work with are good enough to put the sharps in one place so I know where they are and trust them enough to do it. No cameras, no "writing" up, no vindictiveness, just trusting them to do the right thing. All of them are as much concerned for your safety as they are for themselves, and believe me when someone is stuck they are as upset and concerned as you would be. Mike
    Also, always assume that there might be sharp hidden under something and just be extra careful anyway
  8. by   Agnus
    Quote from teeituptom
    Had one Phys who was always leaving sharps and bloody guazes behind, Untill..............

    He had a favorite chair he always used
    I coated the seat of the chair with itching powder
    he was in misery for the rest of the shift
    and no sympathy from any of us

    he doesnt leave sharps out anymore
    This may have worked. However, passiveagressive behavior does not belong in a professional enviorment. It is not adult behavior.

    Simply telling the person that he needs to dispose of his sharps so that others are not put at risk should be enough. Any responsible and considerate adult should respond favorabley to this. If the physician behaves like a child then he needs to be written up and this should be carried up the chain of command. He does not have a right to put others at risk.

    If you do not get satisfaction from the chain of command then OSHA would certainly be interested in this.
  9. by   meownsmile
    I have to agree with Agnus. Way to immature for adults in a professional enviornment. Lot of holes here too. Has anyone seen a doctor spend the day on a unit, or long enough to hail a "favorite chair" for that matter? The ones i see dont stay long enough to tell you what color the carpet on the unit is. How did he know that someone had put itching powder down in retaliation for his leaving sharps and dressings? Someone would have had to tell him, and any docs i know would have B-lined for administration and someone would have been shown the door for unprofessional behavior. Chairs on my unit are sparse at best, who cleaned up the mess so someone else didnt get into it? If i would have gotten into that mess, I would have B-lined to administration and demanded someone be shown the door. Sorry, JMO
  10. by   Agnus
    I might add that having sharps containers place at convenient locations is important for anyone dealing with sharps. Sometimes it is wise to provide a portable sharps container so that it is within easy reach of the area where the work is done with the sharps. This holds true whether it is I who am usings and needing to dispose of sharps or someone else such as a physician.

    Insuring that a sharps container is in a practical location should be part of any setup. We traditionally provide procedure set ups for physicians. Insuring convenient placement of sharps boxes should be part of it.

    OSHA says that as soon as you are completely finished with a sharp it should not be laid down but placed directly into a sharps box. It also says that sharps containers must be conveniently located.

    I am willing to bet if the sharps container is convenient and within sight of the physician you would not have to say anything. If you did you are unlikely to need to say it twice. He knows what it is there for and knows you do not what to be stuck and neither does he.

    It has been my experience that a physician / nurse or anyone else only leaves sharps when disposing of them is not something that can be easily accomplished at the place he stands to do the procedure. Make the sharps box part of the set up.
  11. by   suzanne4
    I never have had problems with doctors in the OR leaving sharps in inappropriate places. I hav eno problems with disposing of sharp items, etc., but whne you have some residents in ERs who don't have a problem with putting dirty needles into beds, etc. I draw the line there. Reason I suggested the camera was that it sounded like this person was having problems with someone and after repeated warnings, no change in behavior.
    As nurses we have been taught to document everything, and if need be document what was done. Depending on the nurse and other staff involved, remember it is always your word against theirs and some hospitals will always side with the physician. I would never consider working in a place like that, but unfortunately, their are some that have to. And you need to protect yourself first of all. That is the point that I am trying to make.

    Mike: I worked the same faicilities for years in Detroit and would never have that problem with anyone that I worked with. But unfortunately for some, that is the norm.
  12. by   nurseygrrl
    Quote from nursemaa
    I also love it when docs rip off a dressing to look at the wound, then walk away with the wound uncovered, soiled dressing laying on the bed...sometimes they don't even tell anyone they took the dressing off and the nurse or aide finds it like that! :angryfire
    I LOVE that! I like it best when a family member finds the dressing off and an open wound on their loved one exposed to whatever filth is around. It makes the nurse caring for the pt. look like a real jackass. I want to SMACK the docs when they do that! :angryfire
  13. by   P_RN
    I have had a lot of luck handing the doc a hemostat or needle driver and saying something like "wouldn't want you to get stuck." Of course when the prima donas work they don't stay long enough to lasso.

    Kind of on the same note.....how does one dispose of those long trocars etc from chest tubes? I've seen docs bend them...ewwww. I've seen NURSES throw them in the trash!! They don't fit the sharps container and I've not seen one with a gel cube like the abg syringes have/had. I'm not actively practicing so a solution may be obvious and I don't know it.
  14. by   heart queen
    Have you considered using Employee Health, who are responsible via OSHA to minimize employee risk, monitor exposure stats and write policy to work with the medical director, and they, well in my place, would be the ones responsible for a policy initiation that requires the docs to properlly dispose.

    Now this piece of paper does not give you automatic compliance, but once you identify the repeat offender, all your leverage is there before hand. Let's face it, the doc's leaving the sharps out are for the most part the ones that will require the chain of command, or at least several verbal reminders to the existing policy.

    My hospital holds every MD and nurse accountable to policy. That's why once we've gathered info that something is a problem, proceed with policy and educate staff once initiated.

    Personally, I know the few who leave a swan or cvp tray full of sharps at the bedside, a few years ago I started to say "Can I place the dressing while your cleaning up your sharps?" and when the knuckle head dares to say "take care of this...", looks at the sharps, never makes eye contact and darts out the door.... YES I do approach him and say "you don't intend to leave your tray of sharps at my patients bedside do you?".(spoken in the help me to understand this situation voice )

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