Nurse Uses the Same Syringe to Inject Two Women

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A nurse working at the medical centre in New Zealand breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights by injecting two women with the same syringe. The nurse is reported to have sent a written apology to the concerned woman. The report was published by the Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner, Theo Baker.

On June 27, 2013, two women got themselves a Depo-Provera injection (a hormonal birth control injected into a woman's arm or buttocks every 12 weeks) from the registered nurse at a medical centre in New Zealand.

The nurse, who has been registered since 1980, placed back the syringe in the box after injecting the first patient, instead of disposing it off. When the second patient came to her, she poked the same syringe into her. The nurse immediately realized her mistake, and instead of accepting her error, she only informed the patient that the syringe was empty. Further, though the nurse failed to check the blood pressure and weight of the patient, she documented as having done so.

The next day, when the nurse admitted her mistake to her practice manager, she was asked to inform the patient and the GP about the error. The nurse, however, failed to do so and instead went on a four-day leave. On her return, she reported this to the GP, but not the patient. The GP immediately informed the woman, who underwent a series of tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.  All of the blood tests returned negative.

According to the report submitted by Baker, the nurse had failed to provide services with reasonable skill and care, and thus had "breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers." The report also stated that the nurse was unable to meet professional standards by not checking the blood pressure and weight of the patient, and not notifying her and the GP immediately.

The nurse resigned from her position at the medical centre on April 17 this year, and later attended the Nursing Council of New Zealand's competence assessment, to complete further training.

In the wake of the incident, the medical centre has hired more staff to relieve pressure and to ensure safety of the patients. The identity of all those concerned have been kept under wraps.

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