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Needlestick injuries in house officers in Singapore


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HP CHia et al. A study of needle-stick injuries among house officers in a major hospital. Singapore Medical Journal 1994 35: 41-43.


The population for this study was 56 house officers in general surgery, general medicine and orthopaedics. A self-administered questionnaire asked questions about needlestick and sharps injuries since the start of their housemanship. Needlestick was defined as skin puncture with or without bleeding caused by a used hollow bore needle.


The response rate was 79%. House officers experienced an average of 1.4 sharp and needlestick injuries per month. There were 171 needlestick injuries, with house officers experiencing as few as none, and as many as 12. Most had between none and four needlestick injuries. Junior house officers had nearly five times as many needlestick injuries per month as senior house officers.

Most needlestick injuries occurred during resheathing, uncapping and during venepuncture.


This study, like others, demonstrates a high risk of needlestick injuries in house officers, particularly in those in their first few months on the ward.