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Needle-Sticks and Other Blood/Body Fluid Exposures

  1. Always observe Standard Precautions (Universal Precautions). 
  2. If you have an exposure to blood or other body fluids (e.g., needle stick, cut), immediately clean the wound with soap and water.
  3. Exposed oral and nasal mucosa should be decontaminated by vigorously flushing with water.  Exposed eyes should be irrigated with clean water or sterile saline. Eyewash facilities can be accessed quickly in the emergency department for each hospital.
  4. Follow the protocol of the hospital in which the incident occurred to the fullest including all follow-up (through the hospital’s Employee Health Service). It is especially important that you report your exposure to the hospital’s Employee Health Service as soon as possible so that a timely evaluation can be performed.  Additionally, your exposure may guide future preventive efforts (e.g., education, training, selection of devices).  If prophylactic medications are indicated, it is recommended they be initiated as soon as possible after the exposure, ideally within two hours. 
  5. If you are uncertain of the procedures for reporting and obtaining care at the facility where your exposure occurred, call the Woodruff Health Sciences (WHSC) Needlestick Hotline for assistance at 404-727-4736.
  6. Acute serology should be drawn to establish one’s baseline antibody titers to hepatitis B virus (if you have not previously been determined to be HBsAb positive [immune to Hepatitis B]) and, if indicated, to HIV and/or Hepatitis C Virus [HCV] (if the source patient is HIV-positive or HCV-positive).
  7. Depending on the results of one’s serology and the baseline serology of the patient (from which the incident occurred), you may need follow-up serologies as per the hospital protocol where the injury occurred.
  8. If the source patient is HIV-infected, the administration of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP or “prophylactic” antiretroviral medications) to decrease the risk of patient-to-health care worker transmission should be strongly considered.  Medications may be initiated pending results of HIV serology on the source patient.  If used, these medications should be taken as soon as possible after the needlestick injury.  The hospitals have protocols and will counsel you and give advice as needed.  PEP regimens are complicated; therefore be sure that the individual who manages your exposure consults with the Hospital Epidemiologist (see list below).  Again, call the WHSC Needlestick Hotline 404-727-4736 if you have any questions about management of the needlestick or other occupational exposure.
  9. The following list of specific areas and/or individuals should be contacted at the facility in which the exposure occurs:

Grady Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Sites

Daytime hours, Monday thru Friday:

Employee Health Service call 404-616-7849 (STIX) or 404-616-4600

After hours and on weekends:  Occupational Health Services - Call 404-616-7849 (STIX) to leave a voicemail with exposure retails. You will be instructed to contact the On-Call Health System Administrator at 404-319-7367.

Dr. Susan Ray, Hospital Epidemiologist, Division of Infectious Diseases

Office: 404-251-8712, Pager: 404-686-5500 ID# 17255; Home: 404-373-8537

If you are unable to reach any of the above individuals, call the WHSC Needlestick Hotline 404-727-4736.

VA Medical Center

Daytime hours, Monday thru Friday: Infection Control/Employee Health, Room 611,

Debbie Hawkins RN:  404-321-6111, Ext. 6471

After hours and on weekends:  Emergency Room 404-321-6111, Ext. 6640

Dr. David Rimland, Division of Infectious Diseases

Office: 404-321-6111, ext. 6165; Pager: 404-722-3122; Home: 770-393-8951

Dr. Robert Gaynes, Division of Infectious Diseases

Office:  404-321-6111, ext. 7508; Pager: Pager 404-485-7918

If you are unable to reach any of the above individuals, call the WHSC Needlestick Hotline 404-727-4736.

Emory University Hospital - Midtown

Daytime hours, Monday thru Friday (7 am to 4 pm):

Employee Health Service—- 404-686-2352

After hours, and on weekends:

Page Administrative Nursing Supervisor (PIC#11917)

Dr. Jesse Jacob, Division of Infectious Diseases

Office: 404-686-1564; Pager: 404-686-5500, ID# 16623; Home: 404-876-4717

If you are unable to reach any of the above individuals, call the WHSC Needlestick Hotline 404-727-4736.

Emory University Hospital

Daytime hours, Monday thru Friday (7 am to 4 pm):

Employee  Health/Occupational Injury Management Office - 1364 Clifton Road, Room D219

Occupational Injury Management (Worker's Compensation) 404-686-8587

Employee Healtrh Services 404-686-8589

After hours and on weekends:

Page Administrative Nursing Supervisor (PIC#13087)

Emergency Room 404-712-7100

Dr. Bruce Ribner, Hospital Epidemiologist, Emory University Hospital and Emory Division of

Infectious Diseases Office:  404-727-1580; Pager: 404-686-5500, PIC# 15326; Home: 404-417 0225

If you are unable to reach any of the above individuals, call the WHSC Needlestick Hotline 404-727-4736.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (Egleston or Scottish Rite)

Daytime hours, Monday thru Friday:

Employee Health, Digital Pager 1-800-682-4549 or Needlestick Hotline (ext 4444 at Egleston and ext 824444 at Scottish Rite)

After hours and on weekends: same as above.

Dr. Harry Keyserling, Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Office: 404-727-5642; Digital Pager: 770-839-5679; Home: 404-377-8535

If you are unable to contact any of the above individuals, call the WHSC Needlestick Hotline 404-727-4736.

Any of the following physicians may be contacted for assistance and additional advice, but the injury should first be reported as outlined in #9, above, for immediate help.

  • Henry M. Blumberg, M.D., Grady Memorial Hospital, 404-727-5096
  • Harry Keyserling, M.D., Egleston Hospital, 404-727-5642
  • Susan M. Ray, M.D., Grady Memorial Hospital, 404-251-8712
  • David Rimland, M.D., VA Medical Center, 404-321-6111, Ext. 6165
  • Bruce Ribner, M.D., M.P.H. Emory University Hospital, 404-727-1580
  • J. William Eley, M.D., M.P.H., Medical School Administration, 404-712-9979
  • Jesse Jacob, M.D., Crawford Long Hospital, 404-686-1564

The cost of the follow-up and necessary medications may be borne by Emory University Affiliated Hospitals or may need to be submitted through the student’s health insurance. Any uncovered costs will be covered through the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs if the following procedures are followed.

IMPORTANT:  For medical students and students in the health professions, initial evaluation of the exposure should be as above. Following this initial evaluation, all incidents and follow-up for exposures occurring at a hospital should be reported within 4 days to the Director of the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs, Margo Kuisis, or her designee in the Office of Medical Education and Student Affairs at Emory University (404-727-5655 or margo.kuisis@emory.edu), i.e., incident report and follow-up plans.