Health Team

Experts urge patients to ask questions before getting injections

Posted January 9, 2013

Public health officials have initiated an awareness campaign aimed at reducing the reuse of needles, which can expose patients to infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented 48 outbreaks in the country related to unsafe injections since 2001.

More than 150,000 patients have been exposed or potentially exposed to infection from needles, syringes and single-dose medication vials that have been reused.

Dr. Zack Moore, an epidemiologist with the North Carolina Division of Public Health, said those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg because tracking down the source of infections can be difficult.

Experts urge patients to ask questions before getting injections Experts urge patients to ask questions before getting injections

Zack Moore Epidemiologist Zack Moore on injection safety

The state is reaching out to health care providers and their patients with an awareness campaign.

“Our main message with this campaign is it's the ‘One and Only’ campaign, which is one needle and one syringe and only one time,” Moore said.

Whether in a doctor's office, pharmacy clinic, hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility, shortcuts may be taken that put the patient at risk.

Dr. Moore advises patients to ask their health care provider if a new needle, new syringe and new vial is being used for every procedure.


This story is closed for comments. Comments on news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • joeBob Jan 17, 8:14 a.m.

    This should also apply to phlebotomy procedures. I was at an employer sponsored health screening last year and was watching and listening to the screeners and the phlebotomists and they were not consistent in their screening questions or their blood draw procedures. Not sure I will go again even though it is free. Get educated people. Only you can look out for your health and well being.

  • raleighlynn Jan 15, 2:55 p.m.

    As a nurse, it would never, ever enter my mind to re-use a syringe. As far as multi dose medication bottles (i.e., insulin) I wipe the top with an alcohol wipe each time. I don't know any R.N.s who don't follow this procedure. While I was working in New Orleans during/after Katrina, all our tetanus and hepatitis vaccines came from single dose vials, and the needles were also single use. As far as I know, this is a non issue.

  • zProt Jan 10, 9:29 a.m.

    "advises patients to ask their health care provider if a new needle, new syringe and new vial is being used for every procedure"

    Whut? And the ethics of the health care provider will make them to tell the truth about this? I can hear the response now:

    "Uh, yes, mam, this syringe has been used for 18 patients before you. But I'll get a fresh one for you, just because you asked..."

  • piratepeople2 Jan 10, 8:49 a.m.

    as a healtcare professional who works in public health, I am saddened that it has come to this. I have worked in the immunizations field for a majority of my career and have never reused anything that was a single use item. Anyone who does is obviously not following CDC injection recommendations and should be fired on the spot. Safety devices should be used and they are difficult to reuse as needles retract automatically on some devices.

  • drnc Jan 9, 6:46 p.m.

    My mother got a severe infection after receiving a shot from a nurse who used improper technique. Keep your eyes open. Educate yourself. If something looks wrong, say something.

  • onecallplus Jan 9, 6:09 p.m.

    People expect a clean syringe and needle with a safe drug vile when they get an injection; have forever, why the hell is that not the law. How sad that we must have a law to protect people when it comes to their health.
    R. Cain