Use of unsterile equipment at N.B. hospital astounding

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As a former educator in operating room technique and management, responsible for quality assurance, I am shocked to learn that patients in Canada are having minor surgeries done, “biopsies”  (breaking the mucous membrane or other tissue barrier for a sample) without sterilized equipment.  

Last month, it was discovered that this practice was going on at the Miramichi Regional Hospital in New Brunswick for 14 years.

If the sterilized equipment was not available to do those biopsies, why were so many people booked to have them done the same day?

The surgeons must have known they were using unsterile equipment. The nurses must have known they were providing unsterilized equipment, so why was it allowed to go on for 14

years without an audit or some sort of quality assurance check that would identify such an infraction of sterile technique.

Is this practice happening in other hospitals in New Brunswick, or other provinces in Canada?  If it is, not only HIV, Hepatitis B and C, but other hard-to-kill bacteria and retroviruses, plus other microorganisms that live in the human body that nobody even understands yet, could be passed from one unsuspecting patient to another. This is absolute negligence.

When the principles of sterile technique are violated to this extent, people’s lives are put in jeopardy because of spreading microorganisms, including cancer cells from a diseased person to another.  Biopsies, above all other, need sterile equipment.

Judi Day

Fredericton, N.B., (formerly of St. John’s)

Organizations: N.B. hospital, Miramichi Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Canada, New Brunswick, DayFredericton

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