104.03 National Study Identifies Surgeons and Medical Students Under-Reporting Sharp Injury

J. Yun1, D. Berera1, D. Vyas1  1San Joaquin General Hospital,General Surgery,French Camp, CA, USA


A majority of sharps-related injuries in U.S. hospitals are not reported. Even with the passage of the Needle-stick Safety and Prevention Act, estimates suggest that the underreporting rate remains unchanged. Few studies have quantified the incidence of underreporting and even fewer studies have evaluated the underlying reasons for not reporting sharps-related injuries. The primary objective of this study was to quantify the incidence of sharps-related injuries, reporting behaviors, and reasons for not reporting sharps-related injuries by healthcare practitioners (HCPs) in U.S. hospitals.


An online, anonymous survey consisting of 15 questions was designed and distributed to attending physicians, residents and fellows, medical students and nurses; 3500 emails were sent to residency programs, hospitals, and medical schools across the U.S.


Data from a total of 434 respondents were evaluated; 57% (n=247) of total respondents indicated they have experienced at least one sharps injury during their career. When asked about their most recent sharps injury, only 56% (n=139) reported the injury. Among those experiencing a sharps-related injury, medical students had the lowest incidence of reporting the injury (40%, n=12), followed by attending physicians (54%, n=53), residents (62%, n=63). Stratification by medical specialty revealed that HCPs from general surgery had the lowest incidence of reporting a sharps-related injury (49%, n=31) compared to other medical specialties. The three most common reasons for not reporting an injury were: (1) the HCP perceived no or minimal risk based on the patient’s medical history (2) excessive time required to report injuries, and (3) the perception that reporting offered no benefit.


This national survey indicates that sharps-related injuries are underreported in U.S. hospitals. Sharps-related injury education and improved reporting processes may be beneficial to all practitioners, which may help reduce the risk of injury and infection.