7 Things About Ampoule Injuries You Need To Know
Ampoule injuries are far too common. You might be surprised to know that ampoule injuries are the most common type of sharps injury in the healthcare industry.
However, ampoule injuries are not taken nearly as important as other sharps injuries such as needlestick and scalpel injuries in clinical settings, despite their ubiquitousness in the healthcare industry.
Here are the 7 things about ampoule injuries that you, and your colleagues in the healthcare industry, need to know.
- One in three healthcare workers have experienced at least one ampoule injury in his/her career.
The 1 out of 3 statistics concerning – in the US alone, 12 million healthcare workforce would mean a whopping 4 million healthcare workers would have sustained a preventable ampoule injury at work.
Ampoule injuries account for up to 42% of all sharps injuries. The figure is even higher in anaesthesia practice where at least 54% of anaesthetists experience an injury from broken ampoules.
- Ampoule cuts can cause severe injuries and anxiety
A good example of this is the case of an anaesthetist in Queensland, Australia, who severed a flexor tendon while opening a glass ampoule. This sharps injury required a general anaesthetic and microsurgery to repair the tendon. It was followed by 6 weeks of intensive rehabilitation. All this may repair the physical injury, but the psychological consequences, including lack of self-confidence, can last much longer.
- Ampoule cuts increase the risk of infections
The breaking of the integrity of the skin increases the risk of exposure to infected blood. This increases the risk of contracting bloodborne pathogens such as HIV, Hep B and Hep C, particularly for healthcare workers who work in highly hazardous area such as the operating theatre.
- Ampoule cut can contaminate the drug in the ampoule
If you sustain a laceration from opening a glass ampoule, chances are you may have contaminated the drug solution in the ampoule with your blood, which is then unusable on patients, thereby costing your hospital. Choose to keep quiet about the possible contamination, you run greater risks from the contamination.
- Glass chips from broken ampoules can be dangerous
Glass chips often fly off in various directions when the ampoule is broken, which is why you need to snap the ampoule neck away from your face, especially from your eyes. Glass chips are small and difficult to locate and remove from bedding and other soft surfaces, which poses a danger to healthcare works and patients. Small glass chips can also drop in the ampoule solution and drawn into syringe for use in patient, which is life threatening.
- The old methods of opening glass ampoules offer no real protection
Many healthcare workers (try to) protect themselves from ampoule injuries by wrapping a piece of paper towel or gauze around the neck when opening a glass ampoule. However, this method offers no real protection against injury. Rather than breaking clean, the ampoule may shatter and expose a jagged edge that can cut your thumb. The broken neck in the towel can be easily dropped, and difficult to find and dispose properly.
- Ampoule injuries can be easily prevented with a safety-engineered device
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 62%-88% of sharps injuries can be prevented simply by using safer medical devices.
These 7 points sum up everything you will need to know about ampoule injuries. Great news is there are many ampoule openers in the market designed to protect you from this understated sharps injury. These safety-engineered ampoule openers break the ampoules cleanly which offer complete protection against ampoule injury.