Cutting injuries in an academic pathology department

Bobbi S. Pritt, Brenda L. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context. - Cutting injuries pose an infrequent but serious threat to anatomic pathology personnel. Although cut-resistant gloves may reduce this danger, it is imperative to recognize specific behaviors that increase the chance of an injury. Objective. - To examine the incidence of cutting injuries in an academic pathology department and the mechanisms by which such injuries occurred. Design. - Hospital Report of Event forms completed for laboratory incidents of cutting injury from March 1998 to September 2003 were evaluated. Further information regarding the incidents was obtained, when possible, by interviews with those personnel involved. Setting. - A university-based pathology laboratory was the setting for this study. On average, 505 autopsies and 29 000 surgical specimens were processed each year during the 5.5-year time period. Participants. - Pathology attending physicians, residents, dieners, and pathologists' assistants who performed autopsies and surgical specimen examinations. Results. - Eight scalpel injuries occurred during the study period. No needle-stick injuries were reported. Searching for lymph nodes and cutting firm tissue each accounted for 3 of the injuries. Only 2 of the 8 individuals were in compliance with the departmental policy regarding protective glove wear. Hospital Report of Event forms alone failed to elicit sufficient detail regarding the mechanism of injury. Conclusions. - A laboratory-based form may be necessary to supplement the hospital form, so as to obtain full details of each injury. This information may then be disseminated to all who handle blades, with the goal of preventing future cutting injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1022-1026
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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