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Surgery, AIDS, and Hepatitis B

Marek Szpalski, MD
JAMA. 1991;266(10):1361. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470100052028.
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To the Editor.  —The article by Panlilio et al1 is an interesting contribution to a sensitive but sometimes confusing problem. To assess the physician's attitude toward the risk of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) contamination and the importance of injuries to surgeons and anesthetists during procedures, in November 1990 we carried out a telephone survey of 250 surgeons and 100 anesthetists, selected as being representative of the Belgian population of those specialties.Sixty-three percent of the surgeons reported that they had sustained an injury during a procedure within the preceding 3 months. More surprisingly, 45% of the anesthesiologists also reported such incidents. Those figures support Panlilio et al's call for the development of puncture-resistant glove materials (cut-resistant materials already exist).We also found that while 51% of the anesthetists use double gloves during procedures on HIV-positive patients, only 26% of the surgeons take this elementary precaution, and only 15% of


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