ATTACK AT HOSPITAL WITH MEDICAL WORKERS STABBED: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS # 40

Headlines reported that Encino Hospital Workers were attacked a stabbed by an Attacker.  These workers were reportedly in critical condition.  Dailymail.com

This article will discuss the immediate concern on this matter.

What Is the Major Concern with This Incident? 

Given the facts and the assumption that the same knife was used in the attack each victim, it is likely that the workers may have been exposed to each others blood.   Thus, a long term issue is the concern with respect to this injury is whether the workers were exposed to a  Blood Borne Illness.  Blood Borne Illnesses include Malaria, Syphilis, and Brucellosis, and Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).  As such, treatment and monitoring for these illnesses would be part of the work injury protocol.  Thus, besides treating the Injured Workers  wounds and likely psychological injuries, an additional Internal Medicine Program will be included to provide prophylaxis treatment as well as testing and monitoring for blood borne pathogens.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

MUSEUM WORKERS STABBED BY CUSTOMER: INJURED WORKERS IN THE NEWS, #21

Museum Workers at the New York Museum of Modern Art were viciously attacked by a Customer.  The customer leaped over a counter and proceeded to stab two  24 year old employees with a knife.  The individual believed to have stabbed the individuals had an address which provided housing for homeless and those living with hiv or aids. dailymail.com

From the museum video, it would appear that each worker was stabbed with the same knife.

This incident raises the issue of blood borne diseases.  The story reports that the attacker lived at a facility that is dedicated to people with human immunodeficiency virus.

Why Do These Facts Matter?

Blood Borne Diseases are included to be claimed within California Workers’ Compensation. Thus, treatment and compensation for these conditions contracted industrially are to be provided.  In museum stabbings,  it would appear medically indicated that both of these workers be treated for stab wounds as well as receive work-ups for any blood borne illnesses.   Should a blood borne disease be caused by the stabbing, i,e, hiv or hepatitis, the individual would be able to make a claim for the injury.

A Blood Borne Disease Designation, in Workers’ Compensation,  can afford additional benefits to Injured Workers in the form of  total temporary disability benefits.  Per LC 4656, an Applicant is entitled to up to 240 week during a period from five years from the date of injury for cases of acute and chronic hepatitis b, acute and chronic hepatitis, and human immunodeficiency virus, hiv. This is in contrast with 104 week limitation for most claims.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

NEEDLE STICK AND SHARP INJURIES AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Many Workers encounter needles and sharps in the workplace.  Many Workers are punctured or are cut by these items in the workplace. These punctures or cuts can give rise a work-related injury.

Per the CDC, “[o]ccupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens from needlesticks and other sharps injuries is a serious problem, resulting in approximately 385,000 needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries to hospital-based healthcare personnel each year. Similar injuries occur in other healthcare settings, such as nursing homes, clinics, emergency care services, and private homes.”

Needlestick and Sharps Injuries can occur in many different settings as well.  These items are used by Individuals who have ongoing medical treatment. They are frequently used by these Individuals while at home, at work or while traveling.   They are even used to treat pets.  These Individuals may have ongoing medical conditions such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, infertility, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, blood clotting disorders, and psoriasis, which necessitate the usage of either a needle or sharp. CDC.

This article will discuss needle stick and sharps, how work injuries can occur, what occupations are risk for needle stick or sharp injuries, what Labor Code Sections may assist Injured Workers who sustain needle stick or sharp injuries and caselaw concerning needle stick or sharp injuries.

What Types of Medical Conditions Can Rise from Needle Sticks or Sharp Injuries?

Per the CDC, “[s]harps injuries are primarily associated with occupational transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but they have been implicated in the transmission of more than 20 other pathogens.” Beyond, blood borne transmissions, there are many Workers who have a strong emotional reaction towards being stuck or punctured. These emotional reactions can give rise to a Psychiatric Injury.  It is noted that “On needlestick claims, at least one treatment with an ICD-9 code in the psychological range was observed on 94 of the 3,338 nonhealthcare worker claims or about 2.8% of these claims.”  However, the research noted that they could not “be sure that the psych counseling is directly related to the needlestick and not some other aspect of the claim.” Infection Risk from “Sharps” Injuries for Non-healthcare Workers Frank Neuhauser, University of California, Berkeley Glenn Shor, Department of Industrial Relations Rebecca Jackson, Department of Industrial Relations Report for: Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation March 26, 2015

If an Injured Worker, as a result of a cut or puncture develops any of these conditions, they may make a work injury claim.  Such a workers’ compensation claim will enable the Worker to claim benefits which can include monetary compensation, medical care, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits if indicated.

How Does It Happen?

Percutaneous exposures to blood and body fluids all through infected needle stick and sharps accidents are the main occupational hazard for morbidity and mortality from infections with blood borne pathogens. Magnitude and associated factors of needle stick and sharps injuries among health care workers in Dessie City Hospitals, north east Ethiopia Assen Wubshet, Kifle, Wubayehu, Aregawi BMC Nursing Vol 19, Article Number 31 (2020)

What Are Sharps?

Per the FDA, Sharps is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin.

Items that can puncture or cut skin. This can include such items as auto injectors, broken vial preparations, connection needles, connection sets, infusion sets, lancets, needles, razors, scalpel, scissors, syringes, trocar puncture needle, and vacuum blood collection needle,

Where Are Sharps Encountered in the Workplace?

Per the FDA, Sharps “may be used at home, at work, and while traveling to manage the medical conditions of people or their pets, including allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, infertility, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, blood clotting disorders, and psoriasis.”

Per the FDA, these items may be disposed at homes, at work, at school, traveling or public places such as hotels, parks, and restaurants.   Further, they can be disposed in household, public trash, and recycling bins.

Cleaners, Correctional Personnel, Dental Assistants, Dentists, Emergency Medical Technicians, Firefighters, Healthcare Workers, Homecare Workers, Housekeepers, Janitorial Workers, Lab Technicians, Landscapers, Nurses, Medical Assistants, Midwives, Paramedics, Physicians, Police Officers, Sanitation Workers, Security Personnel, and Sewage Workers.

“In California, almost 4/5ths of work-related needlesticks are reported to workers in the healthcare sector, a sector which employs 12% of California workers.” Infection Risk from “Sharps” Injuries for Non-healthcare Workers Frank Neuhauser, University of California, Berkeley Glenn Shor, Department of Industrial Relations Rebecca Jackson, Department of Industrial Relations
Report for: Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation March 26, 2015.  “Workers in the healthcare industry have a risk of needlestick injuries of about 1.8 needlesticks per 1,000 workers per year. That is about 14 times higher than the average for all other industrial sectors (0.13/1,000 workers).” Supra.

With respect to non-healthcare workers, “[n]eedlestick injuries, outside the healthcare setting are uncommon. About 1-in-10,000 workers outside healthcare will experience a needlestick in a given year. For specific industries (education, food & hospitality, and waste management) and occupations (custodial services and protective services), this risk is substantially higher. However, even in these specific industries and occupations, the risk of a sharps injury is l less than 1/1000 workers/year.” Supra.

Are There Any Labor Code Sections Which Assists Workers With These Claims?

Yes/ There is a Blood Borne Disease Presumption for certain Law Enforcement and Safety Personnel. See Labor Code Section 3212.8. For an article discussing the presumption, click here.

Is There Caselaw Involving Needle Stick Injuries?

Yes. Needle Stick Injuries can be a source of contention. See Rask vs. Fountain Valley, 2013 Cal.Wrk. Comp P.D. 279 (Panel Decision) which which there was a Nurse with multiple dates alleged for injury to liver, Hepatitis C.   See Garcia vs. Felix Rivera 2020 Cal.Wrk. Comp P.D. LEXIS 35(Board Panel Decision) Dispute over amputation as being industrial when Applicant, a diabetic, stepped on needle while at home.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information. Click Here.

9.3Edward Jay Singer
Edward Jay SingerReviewsout of 22 reviews