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Investigation launched into allegation that needle used on health service student during demo

The type of needle reportedly involved is often used as an emergency treatment for patients in cardiac arrest.

AN INVESTIGATION HAS been launched after it was alleged that an instructor for frontline workers injected a student with a needle typically used to inject fluids or medication in emergency treatments, The Journal has learned. 

The Journal understands that the alleged incident was brought to the attention of management by several people who attended the tutorial last month. The needle is not believed to have contained any medication at the time.

The instrument being used as part of the demonstration was an intraosseous needle, typically used where a patient cannot receive medication through their veins. Instead, the needle is inserted into the bone marrow of a patient and medication can be administered that way. It can be used during cardiac arrest, for example. 

It is most commonly used by placing the needle on a form of small handheld ‘drill’ which helps the needle make its way into the bone marrow of the patient. It is not known in this instance if the needle travelled into the bone marrow of the trainee. 

The full procedure should only be carried out on patients in cardiac arrest or who are unconscious. 

A source familiar with the incident told The Journal: “This is not a pleasant procedure, and it’s only really carried out if someone is in cardiac arrest and IV access is not available, or if the patient is unconscious and again no IV access available but they require urgent access.”

The HSE said it could not comment when asked on the status of the student, however, it is believed that they were not injured during the alleged incident.

A spokesperson for the HSE confirmed to The Journal that a review is currently taking place into an incident but it’s understood that the member at the centre of the investigation has not been suspended.

The spokesperson told The Journal: “A process is in place to review concerns or incidents” but said that there would be no comment “on live incident reviews as it may compromise the process”.