Ethics & law
Should I tell anyone about the needlestick injury I had on elective?
Marika Davies, a medicolegal adviser, gives advice on some common ethical dilemmas faced by medical students
- By: Marika Davies
This is a distressing situation to be in. Needlestick injuries are a common occupational hazard that can happen to anyone, and those who have experienced them describe feelings of fear, anxiety, and anger.12 You should seek support from your GP, personal tutor, or university counselling service, if you have not done so already.
The decision whether or not to be tested is yours, and should be made after careful consideration and consultation with an appropriate doctor and occupational health: you must not rely on your own assessment of risk. Any discussions about the results of any tests you have should be confidential, and you should be given full support, including counselling before and after the test.3
You must also consider the safety of patients, because as a medical student you have a professional responsibility for their welfare. The General Medical Council says that if you know or suspect that you