Policy, engineering and educational efforts

Unsafe Injections transmit Infections!

Unsafe Injections transmit infections
World Hepatitis Day is July 28

As we commemorate World Hepatitis Day, we remember that unsafe infections transmit infections. We are grateful to the World Health Organization for its efforts in preventing viral hepatitis globally. Many cases of viral hepatitis are transmitted by unsafe injections. Following is a poster to guide healthcare providers in administering safe injections.

 

 

Unsafe injections transmit infections
Guidance from the World Health Organization for safe injections

Make Smart Injection Choices

 

Smart Injection Choices
World Hepatitis Day is July 28

The World Health Organization reminds us that we need to make smart injection choices. Following are the questions that the WHO suggests we ask our healthcare provider before we receive an injection to help us make smart injection choices. Unsafe injections spread diseases such as viral hepatitis. When we communicate with our healthcare providers we make good decisions and healthcare improves.

Make smart injection choices
Make smart injection choices

Unsafe injections can transmit hepatitis

World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day is July 28

World Hepatitis Day is later this week, but it is not too early to prepare! Today we share information about unsafe injections which can transmit hepatitis.

Today we are sharing a poster prepared by the World Health Organization on making smart injection choices. Do you know how to make sure medical injections are safe for you and your family?

Please take a look at the poster and share with your networks. Watch for more information this week. But most importantly, do what you can to make sure injections don’t transmit hepatitis!

Unsafe injections transmit disease
Unsafe injections transmit hepatitis

 

World Hepatitis Day is July 28

World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day is July 28

World Hepatitis Day is later this week, but it is not too early to prepare! This week we will be sharing information about these deadly diseases and how to prevent them.

Today we are sharing an infographic prepared by the World Hepatitis Alliance on the number of cases, causes and cures of Hepatitis B and C. Did you know that the mortality rate has increased by 22% since 2000?

Please take a look at the infographic and share with your networks. Watch for more information this week. But most importantly, do what you can to eliminate hepatitis!

 

NoHep
We can eliminate hepatitis!

Preventing the Unthinkable

 

Healthcare providers in all types of settings have reviewed and followed safe medical injection best practices. Nonetheless, contamination—the “unthinkable”—still happens.

The CDC estimates that there have been more than 50 outbreaks of Hepatitis C and/or Hepatitis B in the past decade due to reused needles, syringes or medication vials.*

In 2000-2001 a cancer clinic in Fremont, Nebraska caused the worst hepatitis outbreak in US history. During chemotherapy treatments, 857 patients who were already waging the fights of their lives against cancer, were inexplicably exposed to the deadly, blood-borne hepatitis C virus. At least ninety-nine of them contracted the lethal illness. The horror was unprecedented—this was the largest healthcare-transmitted outbreak of hepatitis C in American history.

I am a survivor of this outbreak and chose to use the money from my settlement against the oncology clinic to co-found the patient advocacy foundation HONOReform. We are now excited to offer the Free Injection Safety Education for Healthcare Providers and Consumers Program, which aims to leverage our story to help prevent other outbreaks.

The program is delivered by myself and my husband, Tom McKnight, a family physician who helped uncover the Nebraska outbreak. It outlines our own story of infection attributed to reuse of syringes in a medical setting. We also examine factors contributing to the Fremont outbreak and make recommendations for prevention.

The continuing education presentation is offered at low or no cost to organizations sponsoring continuing education activities for healthcare professionals or consumer-focused activities.

Learn more about the programs offered for:

To receive more information or learn about the options that might work for your organization, simply provide your email on the form here.

This work began as a response to an unthinkable, preventable tragedy. By building safeguards into the injection process, incentivizing health care providers at all levels to universally follow fundamental safety standards, and educating and reeducating providers, all patients will be protected all the time. Future tragedies can be avoided.

 

By Evelyn McKnight

 

*Source: http://www.cdc.gov/injectionsafety/pubs.html

Asking your support for HONOReform

Asking for your support for HONOReform
Dr Tom McKnight asks for your support

Thank you for your interest in the work of HONOReform – the only organization dedicated to advancing injection safety. I am asking today for your support of our life-saving work.

Why do we advocate for injection safety?

You will be interested in this story about what happened in my family practice clinic recently that illustrates why we must – together – continue educating healthcare providers and patients about the critical need for injection safety.

My clinic scheduled an assessment by the CDC Nebraska Infection Control Assessment program team. These hard-working nurses and infection preventionists spent a day assessing our clinic’s policies and procedures, making sure that we are doing everything we can to prevent our patients from contracting disease while in our office.

At the end of the day, the assessment team sat down with us to give us their report. Fortunately, we are doing most things right.

But there was one thing that needed improvement. The team found an opened, unlabeled vial of lidocaine in a patient care area. Since the vial had not been disposed of properly, there was a risk that it could be reused improperly, potentially spreading disease.

How do we advance injection safety?

You probaby know that my wife contracted Hepatitis C through unsafe injection practices sixteen years ago. Since then, it is my personal crusade to educate about injection safety. I preach to doctors, nurses and medical students that it is never okay to reuse syringes, needles, medication vials or other medical equipment intended for one time use. But despite my efforts, an unsafe injection could have taken place, even in my own office. In 2016, HONOReform gave educational presentations to 2208 people as well as reaching thousands through social media and virtual audiences. Everyone who has been touched by the retelling of our story joins me in thanking you for your generous partnership and support. We are committed to educating about and advocating for injection safety with every possible opportunity, to keep you and your family safe when you access healthcare.

But even with all our efforts to educate about injection safety, there were eight outbreak investigations of disease transmission through unsafe injection practices in 2016, affecting thousands of Americans! Together we must work even harder to advance injection safety.

Here is how you can spread the word about injection safety

Talk to your healthcare providers about how they are keeping you safe through careful adherence to injection safety guidelines. Pass along HONOReform’s eagerness to provider a quality educational presentation to their professional organization. Here is a useful link: HONOReform’s educational presentation program.

asking for your support for HONOReform

Today I am asking for your support for HONOReform. Your contributions enable HONOReform to educate about the absoulte necessity of injection safety to keep healthcare safe for thousands. Click this “Help Save Lives” link to reach our website to make your gift.

Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely yours,

 

Thomas A. McKnight, MD
HONOReform Foundation

PS Thanks for helping with this important need. Please donate today to help with our educational efforts.

Viral Hepatitis Immunization for Children

Viral hepatitis immunization

Today we share information about immunizations for children, especially viral hepatitis immunization. We are grateful to Carrington College for developing the infographic about immunizations for children.

 

 

A deadly infection of the liver, hepatitis can eventually lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and other dangerous conditions. Viral hepatitis Immunization is available for some types of hepatitis, but not for all.

Hepatitis A

Typically spread by close personal contact, hepatitis A does not result in chronic infection. However, its symptoms can be quite severe, so early vaccination is important. As laid out below in the child immunization guide created by Carrington College, children between 12 and 23 months old receive multiple doses of the vaccine, with doses separated by at least 6 months.

Hepatitis B

The symptoms for hepatitis B are virtually identical to those associated with hepatitis A. Unfortunately, hepatitis B can also lead to chronic suffering. According to the recommended childhood vaccination schedule, the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is typically administered within 24 hours of a child’s birth. Further doses will be giver over the next 18 months.

Hepatitis C

There is currently no vaccine available for hepatitis C, although researchers are working hard to change that – possibly in conjunction with an HIV/AIDS vaccine. Full prevention is not possible without a vaccine, but experts at WebMD advise that those worried about contracting the disease avoid direct exposure to blood, practice safe sex, and not share needles with others.

Prevention is important for all types of diseases, especially for infections like hepatitis that can cause years of discomfort. Children and young adults can secure adequate protection through immunization. While injection safety is a concern as hepatitis shots can spread bloodborne diseases, the recent adoption of smart syringes (with features that prevent re-use) promises to reduce the risk of vaccine-related infection.

viral hepatitis immunization

 

Make sure your flu shot clinic follows injection safety standards!

flu shot clinic resources
Its flu shot season! Make sure the flu shot clinic follows injection safety guidelines

All of us have had experience with the flu – body aches, fever, headache, fatigue, sore throat and runny nose and disruption to normal life. Having the flu can result in a personal minor annoyance or in a major health crisis. The CDC urges everyone six months old and older to receive a yearly flu vaccination. But where should you get your flu shot? There are many places to get your flu shot, ranging from your personal physician’s office to “pop-up” flu shot clinics in public places such as airports and hospitals. Make sure that that the flu shot clinic adheres to injection safety standards. Ask if the organization that is providing the flu shot has taken the pledge for vaccination clinics. Share this checklist of best practices for vaccination clinics with your flu shot providers.

When you share these resources, you may be preventing transmission of disease for yourself and others! Kudos to the Influenza Workgroup of the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit for developing these important resources for safety during flu shot season.

 

Eliminating Viral Hepatitis

Tom & Evelyn McKnight
Tom & Evelyn McKnight

“Ev, you have Hepatitis C. The lab test is postive, but I have no idea how you got it.”

My husband Tom said these words to me on February 8, 2002. And thus began my life with Hepatitis C.

Months later we learned that I contracted Hepatitis C through reuse of syringes during chemotherapy. The oncology nurse drew blood from my port, put the blood in lab collection vials and then used the same syringe to access a large saline bag. That same saline bag had been contaminated with a Hepatitis C+ patient’s blood during his port flush. In all, 99 people who were engaged in the fight of their lives to overcome cancer were infected with this second deadly disease.

I’ve learned alot about Hepatitis C since then. Around the world 400 million people are infected with hepatitis B and C, more than 10 times the number of people living with HIV. An estimated 1.45 million people died of the disease in 2013 – up from less than a million in 1990.

Recently we celebrated World Hepatitis Day. It is a day to remember those who have died from the disease, support those who currently have it, and work towards prevention. The theme for this year is “Elimination.” The World Health Organization announced a strategy for dealing with the world-wide epidemic of viral hepatitis.

This new WHO strategy introduces the first-ever global targets for the elimination of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C as public health threats. These targets include a 30% reduction in new cases of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and a 10% reduction in mortality by 2020, and ultimately achieving even greater health impact by 2030. Key approaches to achieving these targets include:

  • expanding vaccination programs for hepatitis B;
  • preventing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B;
  • improving injection, blood, and surgical safety;
  • providing harm reduction services for people who inject drugs; and
  • increasing access to diagnosis and treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

These are lofty goals, but so necessary.

I am one of the lucky ones. After exhausting treatment, I have no detectable virus in my bloodstream. I am profoundly grateful. I choose to live my gratitude by advocating for safe injection practices so that no one else will hear the words, “You have Hepatitis C, but we have no idea how you got it.”

Think NoHep this World Hepatitis Day

World-Hepatitis-Day-2014

Today is World Hepatitis Day and this year’s theme is “Elimination.” The World Health Organization (WHO) recently adopted the first ever Elimination Strategy for Viral Hepatitis that calls for “rigorous application of universal precautions for all invasive medical interventions and promotion of injection safety measures…”

World Hepatitis Day is a great way to raise awareness about injection safety. Here are six ways you and your organization can get involved!

1. Read and share Dr. John Ward’s blog, “Think NoHep this World Hepatitis Day.”

2. Check out CDC.gov’s World Hepatitis Day Feature.

3. Connect with the One & Only Campaign and the World Hepatitis Alliance on Facebook and Twitter using the official hashtags #NOhep and #WorldHepDay.

4. Join the #NOHep Thunderclap to amplify the message on social media.

5. Pledge your support for the World Hepatitis Day campaign by sharing your organizations logo on the World Hepatitis Day webpage.

 

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