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From: "Howard McCollister" <>
Subject: Re: Where syringes are tested.
Date: 23 Jun 2004 08:50:07 -0500
Message-ID: <40d989df$0$23537$>

"Don Saklad" <> wrote in message
>           Besides in television scripts of autopsy investigations like CSI,
>           where are syringes actually tested, if necessary ?...
> You take out an infirm neighbor's trash bag. You feel a needle stick in
> your finger.

In the real world (not television),  the syringe isn't tested, the person
that got stuck is tested (and perhaps treated empirically). Syringes might
be tested as one component of investigation toward building an evidence base
in a criminal matter, but it is notoriously unreliable with a high
percentage of false negatives and would not ever be done in a simple
needle-stick situation.

If you were stuck with a syringe, you need to go see your doctor. And to be
effective, it needs to be soon (like the day you got stuck). Any doctor's
office, hospital, or ER has specific protocols for dealing with such an


From: "Howard McCollister" <>
Subject: Re: How to get needles tested after needle sticks.
Date: 27 Jun 2004 13:42:05 -0500
Message-ID: <40df146e$0$17916$>

"Don Saklad" <> wrote in message
> Exactly where would doctors send a needle for testing for infectious
> organisms after a needle stick in cases where the testing could make a
> difference for doctors and their patients?...
> What is being asked is not about protocol. What is being asked is
> about where the testing would be done in cases where the test results
> could make a difference to the doctors and their patients. It is one thing
> for doctors explaining that needles are not tested and would not know
> where to have a needle tested anyway compared with knowing where to send
> a needle for testing for infectious organisms and explaining that in the
> light of knowing where it would not be necessary.

The point is, Don, no clinician would ever send a needle in to get tested.
There's no point to it. It is too inaccurate, and would have no bearing on
ANY clinical treatment that a doctor would initiate. The results of testing
a syringe would NEVER make any difference to the doctors and their patients.
The "protocols" you refer to are designed to provide the most accurate
possible useful information. Since no doctor ever sends a needle in, no
doctor would know where to send it. Get it?

In the extemely unlikely theoretical event I wanted to get a needle tested,
I would write an order in the patient's chart "have needle from this syringe
tested for infectious agents". I am certain that such an order would be
followed shortly by a page from the lab director or pathologist with a
question like "WTF?", followed by a lecture on how pointless such a test is,
and an explanation why it would cost a fortune to do that testing.

Now, you can do your own homework on this. Call the lab director for various
hospitals in your area. You will no doubt have to call several, because
many, most, maybe all, will think initially that you are some kind of kook.
They would certainly not do the testing there, but might find for you the
number of commercial forensics lab. Or, look up the number of the criminal
forensics lab in your state. THAT'S where your needle would be tested, but
chances are they'll hang up on you or otherwise blow you off unless it's a
criminal matter. If they do agree to test it, it will certainly take months
and cost thousands.


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