More than 9 in 10 surgeons encounter a needlestick injury

95% of surgeons have either been personally affected by a needlestick injury or have seen a colleague experience one, a new global survey has found, increasing their risk of infection. The survey – the first of its kind undertaken – was conducted by SERMO for Mölnlycke, a wound care and surgical products company.
The survey looked at key opinions from 510 surgeons across six countries relating to infection prevention and the role of high-quality gloves in improving patient and clinician safety. In particular, it demonstrated the importance that surgeons place on high quality gloves in the fight against needlestick injuries and exposure to blood-borne viruses, like HIV.

An estimated two million needlestick injuries occur among health workers each year, resulting in increased exposure to HIV, Hepatitis C
and other blood-borne viruses. Needlestick injuries occur when a needle or other sharp instrument accidentally penetrates the skin, yet the underreporting to occupational health departments is well established.

The survey revealed that 93% of surgeons think that high quality gloves reduce the chance of exposure to blood-borne viruses and 83% said that the quality of gloves affects their sense of being protected from needlestick injuries.

On the topic of patient safety, 81% of surgeons believe that high quality gloves impact overall patient outcomes and 89% agreed that high quality gloves improve patient safety in the operating theatre. When asked about glove failure during an operation, 78% of surgeons responded that it increases the risk of surgical site infections.

Commenting on the survey findings, John Timmons, Clinical Staff Nurse and Internatio-
nal Medical Director, said: “Each year, millions of surgeons and their teams risk exposure to life threatening blood-borne viruses and this ground-breaking survey highlights the value that surgeons across the globe place on high quality gloves. Surgeons clearly recognise their role in both ensuring the safety of surgeons and improving outcomes for patients.

“Surgical gloves are one of the key factors that prevent infections in the operating room and should not be viewed as a commodity. High quality means fewer glove failures, yet we are increasingly seeing healthcare systems around the world prioritise price over quality.”

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the most frequent adverse event in healthcare delivery worldwide. Hundreds of millions of patients are affected by HAIs worldwide each year, leading to significant mortality rates. Of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, an estimated seven patients in developed countries will acquire at least one HAI.