Specialties Operating Room


HI, I was just told that Im HIV+. It is so devastating. I have worked as a nurse in the OR for 5 years. I just recently satrted traveling and today, 4-25-01 at 5pm was called by the er doc that I am positive. I was stuck with a dirty suture needle thursday night. About 8 months ago, it was a long busy 12 hr shift. I had to work 2 hours over and when I was cleaning up supplies in the substerile room, I was accidentally stuck with a 18g hollow core needle. Some careless nurse had left it next to instruments. I remember the day clearly. Next door was an ortho room and they had to wash some total hip inst between cases and flash them. I don't remember anyone using the dirty needle, but I as an idiot, left the hospital without going to the ER.. The next day, I called employee health and they told me sorrry, there's nothing we can do. I colud have lied , but Im a honest person. I went to the health dept and they drew my blood and 3 days later told me I was negativve. I knew I was to begin with. Feb 2001, It had been 6 months and I was tested again and those 3 days seemed really long. It came back negative again. I was so overjoyed and relieved. So, when the ER doc told me I was positive, I just couldn't believe him. He told me to have a Western Blot test, because a small and "he emphasized the word small" number of people have false postives. I agreed and some time in the next few days will have that test done. I am so scarred. What of my OR career?? My life?? How do I tell my bosses and co-workers?? How can I possibly tell my family. It will kill them. I have cried for hours and prayed for hours. I just can't think of anything else. I was offered a position as a first assistant. Can I still scrub?? Someone please give some advice. What about treatment options?? I'so nomb. I can't think straight. I would rather die tonight than live one day and tell my family and friends this life-ending news. RH

sharann, BSN, RN

1,758 Posts

Oh RH,I am so sorry. But please do not give up.You sound appropriately scared and depressed,but please don't do or say anything rash! I am not an OR RN but I do know that having HIV or HEP C or whatevever doesn't make you unsafe to practice.Also,I believe that you should get a private consult with an Infectious Disease doc to get some for sure answers.Treatments if began early can make all the difference in the world.Do not lose perspective in how HIV is transmitted.Your family is safe,you can't give it to anyone by just living w/them,sharing dishes etc...You obviously must be careful w/regard to sexual matters(like you are in the mood now...right).

Hang in there! Maybe some OR nurses here can help with that aspect.Good luck.



52 Posts

How absolutely frightening for you. I have no idea what to say, except that I am so sorry. I too was stuck with a needle. It was my own fault. I was new, and as a new scrub nurse in an emerg. c-section, I felt rushed, and was careless with an 18 guage needle. I just wanted you to know that my thoughts are with you, as I am sure the thoughts of all those who read your post...........Kim


12 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Cardiac, Surgical, Float pool.

i am at work and read this letter and want to say that i started to cry.. what other profession requires people to deal with disease everyday? i get so upset when football or baseball players want and get so much money and here we are dealing with such sick lives and endangering ourselves everyday.. it is the best and worste profession in the world.. my thoughts are with you everyday and i am sure you are a wonderful nurse and i am praying for you...jayme


6 Posts

Everyone, Thanks.

Friday, I found out that the Western Blot came back negative. I was so happy I cried in the employee health nurse's office. It was such a weight off me. I had been praying and asked GOD to heal me and to guide me. I believe HE answered my prayers. I believe I had HIV. I don't know why, just I felt that way in my heart. I believe GOD healed me. It was the worst week of my life. I had thoughts of suicide and was really depressed. I could not sleep or eat. Friday was the best news I have ever had. I told my family Friday after I had the test results and they cried. They were mad at me and was upset I kept all that to myself. I was trying to keep them safe and not have them worry from 39 hours away.I appreciate the replies . They helped me. GOD bless, Rex.


6 Posts

Well, I'm writing this again to inform you of my current status. 3 weeks ago it was\my 6 week testing. I got back the ELISA test results and again they were positive. The did the Western Blot again and this time it came back inconclusive. I was asked to submit another sample and have waited 3 weeks for the results. Today I received a phone call from the Employee Health nurse that the results came in and she wants to talk with me. I'm so scarred. I thought after the first scare, all of this would be over. I feel the results are going to be positive. I know this sounds rather pessimistic, but I just get this bad feeling about it. I have tried to remain positive, but it hasn't worked. I've been praying and know no matter what the outcome, GOD will bless me and everything will be O.K. No matter what may come, GOD is where I draw my strength and I know that when I die, I will go to heaven and live there for all eternity.


52 Posts

Hi there. I have not been on the site all summer. I hope you are alright. I don't know what to say really. I know I have made a couple of careless moves.........I could be you......Please let us know how you are. Kim


127 Posts

Hi OR-RN, hope things are well for you. Why havent you informed everyone of your status?? My prayers are with you!!

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