Before the late 1990s or early 2000s nurses, doctors and other medical personnel were putting themselves at risk while using a syringe. In many cases recorded through decades medical staff have been infected by various diseases and recently by HIV due to used needles that penetrate into their skin. In the movie ‘Puncture’ (2012) a local ER nurse working in a hospital is trying to inject a rough and rowdy patient with a sedative but after injecting it into him, the needle drops and pricks her finger. Unfortunately, the needle was contaminated with a disease that the patient had and this is passed on to her.
In 1998, Mike Weiss and Paul Danzinger were approached by a man who said he had a safety needle that would protect medical personnel from being pricked. According to injo.com, a group of medical professionals committed to fight against diseases, “an auto disable syringe- voluntarily or involuntarily- gets damaged after single use. The involuntary models which permit only one backward movement followed by one full forward movement of the piston are the most popular.” Due to this mechanism, the needle cannot be reused.
Unfortunately the inventor, Mr. Thomas Shaw was unable to sell his safety needle to hospitals in the United States because of various corporate and medical association hierarchies and lobbying tactics. Further, since the cost of purchase was more than regular plastic syringes, hospitals did not want to spend more money even if that meant saving lives of their own staff. After the death of one the nurses in a hospital due to an accidental needle prick, the two lawyers were committed to bring the safety needles into all the hospitals in the United States. Through their research they realized that the issue was much larger than they thought, and children in third world countries were being infected because hospitals or clinics were re-using the needles by boiling them in hot water.
One of the lawyers Marc Weiss died in his home on 2nd October 1999. The official cause of his death is from a drug overdose but authorities did not pursue further investigation. Paul Danzinger however, took the case forward and brought in another prominent lawyer. The case never went to trail and it was settled several years later for 150 million US dollars. In most parts of the world, safety needles are still not used but Thomas Shaw is credited as being one of the first people to invent it and Marc Weiss and Paul Danzinger were possibly the first lawyers to make it a national issue in the United States.
Safety needles must be promoted and should be used in all medical facilities around the world. It not only saves the lives of medical staff but also the cleaning staff, waste disposal staff and to any person who may accidentally come across a contaminated needle.