Study: Surgery training injuries often not reported

Most surgeons-in-training end up giving themselves accidental injuries, typically by sticking themselves with needles or sharp instruments, but a new study says few actually report their mishaps despite the threat of AIDS, hepatitis and other blood-borne illnesses.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, concludes rushed surgical residents are reluctant to report such injuries because it would take time, could slow career growth and might be embarrassing. Many surgical residents also believe, incorrectly, that treatment wouldn't help prevent potential infections, the study noted.

Researchers are recommending surgeons give residents better training as to how to prevent--and respond to--injuries. They're also suggesting infection-reduction measures such as wearing two sets of surgical gloves, substituting electric scalpels, clips and glues for sharp instruments and increasing use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to cut back surgical workloads.

To get more background on this issue:
- read this piece from The New York Times (reg. req.)

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