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HIV-Positive Patient Bites Hospital Security Guard, Draws Blood

The security guard was bit in the forearm when he attempted to hold down the patient who was hitting and kicking hospital staff.

HIV-Positive Patient Bites Hospital Security Guard, Draws Blood

Mayo Schrieber, deputy director for the Center of HIV Law and Policy, says the likelihood of transmitting HIV through a bite is extremely low.

A patient who is HIV-positive is facing felony charges after she allegedly bit a hospital security guard who was attempting to restrain her.

Christine Bigman, 48, was charged in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Tuesday with one count of criminal endangerment, reports KRTV.

Bigman was a patient at Saint Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Montana, when she became aggressive on Saturday. Bigman was reportedly kicking and hitting hospital personnel.

A police officer and a security guard attempted to restrain Bigman by holding down her arms and legs, according to court documents.

During the confrontation, Bigman bit the security guard’s forearm. The bite broke the skin and drew blood from the security guard.

Mayo Schreiber, deputy director for the Center of HIV Law and Policy, says that it is very unlikely that HIV would be transmitted through a bite, although biologically possible.

“In more than 35 years of studies there are no known reports of a security guard, law enforcement or corrections officer anywhere in the world becoming infected with HIV when bitten in the performance of their duties,” says Schreiber.

A 1985 study supports Schreiber’s claim that the likelihood of transmitting HIV through a bite is extremely low.

In the study, 198 health care professionals who had cared for a patient with HIV between 1983 and 1985 were examined. 30 of the 198 personnel who cared for the patient had been either scratched or bitten.

The patient was a hemophiliac with severe brain damage from a car accident. The patient was habitually disoriented and combative, often times transmitting bodily fluids to hospital staff, according to the study.

The study followed all workers for two and a half years following their encounter. HIV was not found in any of their blood.

It is still unknown if the Billing’s hospital security guard has been infected.

Bigman is currently being held at the Yellowstone County jail without bail.

About the Author

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Amy Brennan is the Campus Safety Web Editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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