Hopkins surgeon's HIV test is negative

Needle sticks are frequent job risks

June 29, 2007|By Chris Emery | Chris Emery,sun reporter

Dr. Justin Maxhimer's HIV test came back yesterday, three months after he was accidentally poked by a needle while taking blood from an HIV-positive patient.

It was negative.

Maxhimer, a 31-year-old surgical resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital, sought immediate treatment through the hospital's occupational health office after he suffered the needle stick in March. "They were great," he said of the staff of the occupational health office. "They got me on the anti-retroviral drugs within an hour."

Known as needle sticks, such injuries are more common among early-career surgeons than previously thought, according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers. The study found that less than half of the incidents are reported and treated appropriately, which puts doctors at risk.

That spring night, Maxhimer explained to his fiancee what had happened. "She was scared for the both of us," Maxhimer recalled. The couple's wedding is scheduled for September. "She's a nurse, so that made it a little easier."

Yesterday he went to the occupational health office at Hopkins to get his prognosis. "You go in there, they sit you down and give you the results," he said. "Happily, the test came back negative."

He also found out he was negative for hepatitis C, another dangerous virus he was exposed to from an earlier needle stick while working on another patient.

After getting the results, he immediately called his fiancee and then his mother with the news.

"They were both very happy," he said.

chris.emery@baltsun.com

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