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The differing concern among surgeons regarding the blood-borne transmissible infections HIV and hepatitis B virus (HBV), has prompted a confidential questionnaire of 250 consultant orthopaedic surgeons on some aspects of their current practice of ‘safe’ surgery. Only 154 replied.
Hepatitis B vaccine uptake by surgeons was 70 per cent in this sample. This compares favourably with two recently published figures (47 per cent and 24 per cent). Unfortunately, we do not fare as well on routine screening for HBV in known ‘at risk’ groups, although 92 per cent of surgeons felt confident that they would recognize the ‘inoculation risk’ categories.
The response to sustaining a needlestick injury by the majority of surgeons (87 per cent), was to change the affeded glove. Only 7 per cent reported the incident as recommended to the Occupational Health Department and 6 per cent took no action at all.
Current recommendations for ‘safe’ surgical practice as they apply to surgeons with regard to needlestick injury are discussed.
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Accepted: August 24, 1990
© 1991 Published by Elsevier Inc.