| Infection Happens
Traditionally, patients receiving IV therapy were given intravenous injections through low-cost pierceable access ports. The healthcare professional would draw up IV medication with the syringe and attached needle and then inject the medication directly into the pierceable port, thus eliminating any need to inject the patient. The needle, which subsequently was removed from the pierceable port, was contaminated from patient fluid backflow in the IV line, and it became a potential needlestick threat to the healthcare worker.
In an effort to eliminate accidental needlestick injuries, new threaded ports were provided on IV tubing, allowing clinicians to draw up medication, remove the needle, and then screw the syringes directly to the ports for medication administration, leaving no contaminated needle at the end of the process. Unfortunately, removal of the needles in a non-sterile environment such as a hospital room, compromises a previously closed system, allowing for contamination and creating a significant potential risk of patient infections (staph and others).
Automated retraction technology with non-detachable needles provides a far safer, cheaper alternative solution to the new needleless systems by allowing the syringe needles to be retracted directly from the standard low-cost pierceable ports rather than from the newer threaded ports that cost several dollars each. Considering that the IV tubing and ports must be changed and discarded on an average 72-hour basis, the introduction of the new systems has provided a “gold mine” to the major manufacturers. However, for the hapless patients who contract the often deadly infections through the use of needleless systems, the original method of never detaching needles from syringes combined with automated retraction from the closed system ports provides a far more desirable solution, protecting both patients and clinicians in the process.