This issue has placed a premium on the development of new products designed to prevent accidental needle sticks, which spread blood-borne pathogens.
Medical supply manufacturers around the globe are trying to develop new safety and innovative products, including sharps safety medical devices to protect health care workers. The University of Virginia’s International Healthcare Worker Safety Center lists 12 companies offering retractable needles/syringes.
The products involve a variety of technologies, for example, a safety needle device has a needle encapsulation sleeve after it has been used; the sleeve automatically resheathes the needle and locks it so that it cannot be exposed.
Blunt safety devices deploy a two-needle system, one inside the other. The inside needle is hollow and has a flat, blunt end. The outside sharp needle is used to access the vein. The inner needle moves forward and past the sharp needle to insure safety before it is removed from the patient. Such devices are known as first-generation safety products.
The retractable syringe is a unique device requiring no change in the basic procedure of delivery of the medication by health care workers. Once the injection is complete, the needle safely retracts from the patient into the syringe barrel -- thus, there is no risk of accidental needle stick injuries that can transmit HIV, hepatitis, or other infections to health care workers. Retractable syringes are considered second generation safety products.