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Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure/Needlestick/Injury

For students who experience an exposure to blood, visibly bloody fluid, body fluid, e.g. cerebrospinal, synovial, peritoneal, pleural, amniotic, semen, secretions from a needlestick/cut or splash to eyes, mouth, nose or open cut, animal bite/lab injury at UMASS Chan Medical School or UMASS Memorial:

What to Do:  

1. Gently bleed, wash, flush affected area with soap and water.
2. Page the BUGS beeper 77- BUGS ( 2847)
3. Notify your supervisor/supervising resident (if there is one) and Clerkship Director.
4. Obtain Evaluation - Don’t Delay!  It is important to be evaluated within 2 hours of exposure. You may have to begin immediate treatment. 

      Employee Health 291 Lincoln Street, Suite 100 (508) 793-6400 Hours M-F 7:00am - 5:00pm

                                If after hours, go to the Emergency Department.

    DO NOT go to Student Health for any immediate attention for a needlestick/body fluid exposure.

5. Fill out incident report (available in each department) and send to Employee Health.
6. All students with exposures will contact Student Health for Follow-up after initial visit in the ER or with Employee Health.

At all other sites (rotations/clinicals), students should follow the protocol at that site for initial treatment and follow-up will be provided through Student Health. 

  Exposure to Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a chemical used within the Anatomy Labs.  Air quality in the Anatomy Lab is monitored by Environmental Health Safety.  If a student has a concern for symptoms that may be related to Formaldehyde exposure:

What to do:

1. Call Student Health Services (508) 334-8464. (Students should not walk in to FCM/Student Health Services for appointments)

2. Once evaluated by the Family Medicine provider, if it is determined that a formaldehyde filtering type of mask is appropriate the provider will write a letter to that effect and provide prior to the end of the visit

3. Students are to provide this letter to their anatomy instructor to advice/coordinate on next steps 

Note:  Any student experiencing severe acute symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting due to a potential formaldehyde exposure during anatomy lab are to go to the ER immediately

Safety Guidelines for Pregnant Individuals in UMass Medical School’s Anatomy Resource Center

Safety Guidelines for Pregnant Individuals in UMass Medical School’s Anatomy Resource Center:

The University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School seeks to minimize the risks of working in its Anatomy Resource Center for all employees and students. Minimizing risks for people who are pregnant is especially important due to the sensitivity of the fetus to specific chemicals, biological agents and ionizing radiation. All lab workers should know the hazards of the materials with which they work and it is important to recognize that an individual’s susceptibility to those hazards may change due to factors such as pregnancy.

Information about specific hazardous materials may be found in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), labels, and literature from Environmental and Safety or from the Director of Anatomic Services. All employees, including those who are pregnant, are encouraged to make use of these sources of information. Safe laboratory procedures minimize exposure for all laboratory employees and, if followed faithfully, they also protect the developing fetus.

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents UMass Chan from compelling an individual to disclose that they are pregnant, and it prevents them from being assigned to different tasks simply because of the pregnancy. If someone willingly informs faculty of a pregnancy then additional assessments, precautions or other accommodations can be implemented. Colleges, departments and faculty will determine the extent to which a pregnant lab worker or lab student can be excused from lab requirements or what accommodations can be made.

In all cases, a pregnant individual should discuss the laboratory environment with their medical care professional and provide specific information about potential exposures.

  • Request from the Department, an altered assignment within the lab either through a change in lab duties, a reduced time frame within the lab or a change in location*;

  • Request a delay in entry into the academic program requiring the laboratory work*; or

  • Continue to work in a laboratory by utilizing the regular safety precautions that have been developed for

    the laboratory.

Additionally pregnant lab particpants can:

• Request a hazard assessment with Environmental Health & Safety to understand those potential exposures and protective measures that should be utilized;

*Please note that requests for altered schedules might not be able to be honored.

There is conflicting information about the effects of formaldehyde exposure during pregnancy, so the consequences are unclear. The first trimester is the most vulnerable time. There is no safe level of formaldehyde exposure.

Recommendations for Medical Students

Under the advisement and care of your doctors, there are things we can do to minimize your exposure during the anatomy course:

• You will need a respirator from Student Health before working in the anatomy lab and need to follow the instructions to ensure it is working properly
• You should be prepared to wear a respirator whenever in the A-Labs, regardless of activities (eg. radiology, exam, dissection, prosections, osteology)

• We can provide further protection from skin absorption with Tyvek sleeves
• You may choose not to participate in “highest exposure” days – opening the thorax and opening the abdomen
As long as you and your doctors are comfortable with you participating in the labs, and follow the precautions above, you will be able to participate in the anatomy lab dissection portion of the anatomy curriculum.