Healthcare Cost

According to the American Hospital Association, one case of serious infection by bloodborne pathogens can soon add up to $1 million or more in expenditures for testing follow-up, lost time, and disability payments. The estimated cost for initial testing following a needlestick injury is between $540 and $675. The cost of follow-up for a high-risk exposure is almost $3,000 per needlestick injury even when no infection occurs.

Hepatitis C is the most frequent infection resulting from needlestick and sharps injuries. Drugs that slow the progression of hepatitis C are available, but average $1,700 each month. Hepatitis C leads to liver failure, liver transplants and liver cancer. A liver transplant costs $500,000. The drug treatment to prolong the advancement of HIV to AIDS can cost up to $6,000 per month. Approximately 50,000 to 60,000 healthcare workers contracted these serious infectious diseases from needlestick injuries in the last decade.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that for treating needlestick injuries in hospitals in the USA every year was between $37 million and $173 million per year. This did not include longer term costs, which are potentially significant. No account was taken for any legal costs for negligence, nor any compensation for lost employment or other damages.