Recently, I was about to place a chest tube on a patient.
My attending told me, "Sam, wash your hands like you've never washed them before." Luckily, the surgical residents were right next to me and took over the procedure. We didn't know too much about this patient, so it was frightening to consider that I could become infected with HIV, Hep B, Hep C, or other bugs.
Although, I've taken care of several staff with needle exposures, I'd never personally really felt the fear of the unknown. A rapid HIV test was ordered on the patient, along with Hep B and Hep C testing. The wait felt like it took forever and I was offered a triple combination of HIV antiviral medications. Should I take them? I pondered as I looked over the CDC recommendations: