Objectives: To document frequency, nature and predisposing factors for needlestick injuries (NSI) in doctors working at tertiary care hospitals of Rawalpindi.
Methods: This cross sectional survey was conducted at Department of Medicine, Rawalpindi Medical College from July 2009 to April 2010. Five hundred doctors working at various tertiary care hospitals of Rawalpindi were contacted. Each doctor was provided a specifically designed proforma focusing on number, nature, and predisposing factors for NSI which was defined as percutaneous injury caused by hollow-bore needles, suturing needles, scalpel blades and lancets. Frequency and percentage of collected data was sought.
Results: Out of 500, 61.8% (n = 309) doctors returned the filled proformas. Females were 50.8% (n = 158). History of NSI was present in 85.1% (n = 263) participants of which most common was from syringe needle (47.52%; n = 125), surgical stitch needle (20.9%; n = 55), and surgical blade (9.5%; n = 25). Most of NSI took place while recapping needles (33%; n = 87), surgical procedures (27.7%; n = 73), and drawing blood samples (26.2%; n = 69). Majority of these doctors 42.5% (n = 112) attributed NSI to stress, 37.6% (n = 99) to over work, and 19.7% (n = 52) to carelessness.
Conclusion: NSI due to syringe and surgical stitch needle are very frequent in doctors working at various tertiary care hospitals of Rawalpindi. Most of these are sustained while recapping needle and surgical procedures in stressful and overworked circumstances.