Patients expect that routine medical tests will be conducted by experienced and qualified medical professionals. However, as a recent case in Maryland showed, this isn’t always the case. And while interns and personnel in training are often present and participating in clinical environments, a lack of professional oversight can result in careless mistakes or, as in this case, deliberate disregard for the standard of care. Fortunately, while consequences were averted in this instance it isn’t inconceivable that a similar case could result in a much less desirable result.
In this case, a mother brought her six-year-old son to a health care clinic. There he was examined by the director of the clinic, after which the director told the child’s mother that a lab person would draw blood for further analysis. However, instead of a lab person, a student phlebotomist in training came to draw the child’s blood. The clinic did not inform the child’s mother that this person was a student in training and was not employed by the clinic.
Before drawing the child’s blood, the student accidentally stuck herself with the needle, but did not throw it away, instead using this same needle to draw blood from the child. This was observed by the mother, who then told the clinic’s director when he returned to the room. The director questioned the student, who initially stated that she had accidentally stuck herself with the needle, thrown it away, and used a second one. However, the director observed that only one used needle was present in the trash can in the room, after which the student admitted that she had only used one needle.
The student was tested and came back positive for Hepatitis C. "The child was tested for Hepatitis C for a period of one year after the incident," accoding to Medical Malpractice Lawyers. "Fortunately, his testing was negative for Hepatitis C."