Aids and Needles

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AIDS AND NEEDLES
A large manufacturer of medical supplies, Becton Dickinson dominates the market in disposable syringes and needles. Maryann Rockwood (fictional name), a nurse used a Becton Dickinson 5 cc syringe and needle to draw blood from a patient known to be infected with AIDS. Ms. Rockwood worked in a clinic that served AIDS patients; this forces the nurses to draw blood from infected patients several times a day. On this particular day that she drew blood, she transferred the ADS contaminated blood to a sterile test tube called a Vacutainer tube by sticking the needle through the rubber stopper of the test tube, which she was holding with her other hand. She accidently pricked her finger with the contaminated needle. She is now HIV positive.

1986 Becton Dickinson had acquired rights to patent and manufactures a new syringe invented by Charles B. Mitchell that had a movable protective sleeve around it. The Becton Dickinson 5cc syringe did not have the new guard around it. In 1988 Becton Dickinson decided not to manufacture and market his product to all sizes of syringes, 1cc, 3cc, 5cc, 10cc syringes, he instead marketed the most common used syringe to save cost, the 3cc syringe was marketed under the name safety-lok, it was a big success as it promoted device that “virtually eliminates needle sticks”.

Needle stick injuries account for 80 percent of the reported occupational exposures to the AIDS virus among health care works. In 1991 it was estimated about 64 health care workers were being infected with the AIDS virus each year as a result of needlestick injuries. While needle stick injuries have a potential to transferring bacteria, HIV, and viruses it also can transmit hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus (DeCarli, 2002).

In your judgment, did Becton Dickinson have an obligation to provide the safety syringe in all its sizes? Yes, Needle stick injuries among healthcare workers worldwide had become a threat to the health care industry. Becton...
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