Probe ordered against AIIMS.
UNION HEALTH Minister Harsh Vardhan ordered a probe after a M AIL T ODAY investigation revealed that the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences is using expired non-surgical consumables like blood collection needles, blood collection tubes and infusion sets.
The AIIMS responded on Saturday, saying that no expired surgical consumable items were available or used in any of its patient care areas including the out-patient department, wards, casualty units and operation theatres. It contended that only five to six boxes of "vacutainer" or blood collection tubes with expiry dates of 2012 and 2013 were found stacked in a corridor in the Haematology department as they were "awaiting condemnation".
A follow-up investigation by MAIL TODAY, however, revealed that expired consumables continued to be used in several departments of the hospital even on Saturday. At all hospitals and medical institutions, the administration releases a circular for disposing waste items. But AIIMS sources said no formal circular had been issued for the past few years to send expired consumables to the hospital's disposal facility.
"Even today, expired syringes were used in the hospital. These items should have been discarded in an incinerator as and when they expired. They are lying in the store, the Haematology Department, the new private ward and several other departments for years. The staff is using these items," a source said. "New stock keeps on coming in, so not all the stock and medicines area expired. But a considerable amount of the consumables are expired." During an earlier visit, this reporter witnessed a staff taking an expired needle for use on a patient. In the ophthalmic department, patients are usually unaware of the use of expired consumables on them.
"It is a normal practice that the nursing staff use expired needles on patients," the source said.
Experts said it was highly irregular for the AIIMS administration to leave cartons of expired consumables stacked in corridors for disposal.
"If these are to be discarded, the ideal place should be the disposal bin of the concerned department," an expert, who did not wish to be named, said.
Following the M AIL T ODAY investigation about the use of expired non-surgical consumables in the new private ward, ophthalmic sciences and haematology departments, the AIIMS conducted checks and enquired about the practice in several departments.
The Bio-Medical Waste ( Management and Handling) Rules of 1998 clearly mention that "waste sharps" like needles, syringes, scalpels, blades and glass ( including both used and unused items) should be disinfected through chemical treatment, auto-claving, micro-waving and then shredded.
Copyright 2014 India Today Group. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. ( Syndigate.info ).