Study Highlights the Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens in the Delivery Room

SAN ANTONIO -- A newly released study shows that exposure to potential bloodborne pathogens in hospital delivery rooms during the cutting of the umbilical cord is far more common than once thought. Face shields from medical teams showed personnel were five times more likely to be sprayed in the face with the umbilical cord blood when using the combination of surgical scissors and multiple clamps than when using a new all-in-one instrument which shields blood spray -- the Joey Clamp & Cutter Umbilical Safety System. Controlling blood spray reduces the risk of clinicians contracting diseases like AIDS and hepatitis.

This week the Joey Clamp & Cutter won the national IDEA Award for medical innovation, the top award given to a medical product each year. The Joey, an all-in-one cutting and clamping instrument, allows for one-handed operation. Perhaps most importantly for parents, it places a colorful koala bear face on the newborn's belly as an umbilical clamp.

The study, conducted from December 2002 through February 2003 by Wendell Winters, PhD, was designed to specifically test the risk of blood spray during transection, or cutting, of the umbilical cord and the effectiveness of the Joey. Winters is a teaching and research professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Among the study's findings:

-- Nurses and other ancillary members of the delivery team are at a

greater risk of getting sprayed in the face with cord blood than the

physician performing the delivery.

-- 90 percent of the clinicians who had contaminated face shields did not

perceive they had been sprayed during the transection of the umbilical

cord.

-- Droplets of blood were detected on the inside of some face shields

belonging to delivery team members -- suggesting that the risk of

contamination by blood spray still exists even while taking

"universal precautions," which include gloves, masks and face shields.

"This device allows for a safer environment for everyone involved in the delivery," says Winters. "While the instrument shields against bloodborne pathogens, the endearing koala face umbilical clamp is left on the newborn to celebrate each birth as a special occasion."

The Joey Clamp & Cutter is a product of Maternus Medical, a Vital Needs Inc. company.

Source: Maternus Medical

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