Fears after A&E jab

The patient was adminstered the injection incorrectly
The patient was adminstered the injection incorrectly

A worried patient claims her health has been put at risk by a wrongly administered injection.

The woman was given the jab by an emergency room nurse at Forth Valley Royal Hospital on April 1 after she was exposed to Hepatitis B.

However, when she went to Tryst Medical Practice last week for the second injection in a course of four, she was told this time it would be given into her arm, not her buttock.

The woman, who has asked not to be named, said: “I asked why it was in my arm and she said ‘where else would I give it?’. When I told her about the first one, she said it wasn’t correct practice to give Hep B jags in the buttock and brought out the information leaflet to verify.

“It didn’t just advise against administering it in the buttock but stated it should never be this area. When I asked if this had implications on the effectiveness of the drug and she said yes, I was totally shocked.”

The practice nurse said she would contact the patient’s GP and the health council to flag up the incorrect practice.

The concerned patient contacted the hospital and was told staff would investigate.

She was also promised counselling, but said when someone called her on May 2 she was unable to take the phone call and no-one has been in touch with her since.

After looking into how the jab should be administered, the woman said: “The implications for me is that the initial vaccination, which is the most important in preventing me contracting Hep B, has been compromised.

“On my own research I have found that giving the jag in the wrong site can actually change the behaviour of the antibodies which is a worry.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said: “The vaccine is very effective at preventing infection with Hepatitis B for those who have not been immunised and are at risk from a possible source of infection.

“It should be administered by intra-muscular injection. A study in the US in 1985 reported a slightly higher antibody response in those receiving the injection into the deltoid (shoulder muscle) area rather than the buttock. As a result the British National Formulary states that the deltoid is the ‘preferred’ method of administration.”

However, she added that a decision on the site of injection and needle size to be used must be made for each individual patient on the basis of the size of the muscle, the thickness of tissue at the injection site and the depth below the muscle surface into which the material is to be injected.

She said: “The possible effect of increased pain experienced using the deltoid site could also adversely affect the likelihood of a patient returning for the required three doses of the vaccination.

“Staff throughout NHS Forth Valley have been reminded of the appropriate procedures.”

Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver, which can cause an acute illness that resolves itself quickly without causing long-term damage. However, in about 20 per cent of cases it causes a chronic illness that lasts more than six months, sometimes for life.

It is transmitted through blood and infected bodily fluids. Health workers and emergency personnel are considered at high risk of contracting the virus.