Medical waste found on Prince Philip Drive – again

James McLeod
Published on June 6, 2014
A bag of medical waste was sitting in the middle of Prince Philip Drive Thursday around lunchtime. The Telegram removed the bag from the road and called Eastern Health. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Around lunchtime, there was a clear plastic garbage bag full of medical waste sitting in the middle of Prince Philip Drive in front of Confederation Building.

Mostly, the bag of medical waste looked like used gloves and napkins, along with a piece of packaging marked “Sterilization Tubing” and another package with “Tenaculum hook Women’s Health” and several barcodes on it.

The Telegram picked up the bag and took it off the road, before calling Eastern Health to ask what to do with it.

After getting some pictures by email, media relations manager Jackie O’Brien said the waste did indeed look like it belonged to Eastern Health.

“This waste likely originated from the Health Sciences Centre,” O’Brien wrote in an email.

“It appears to be non-biomedical and was intended for landfill. Eastern Health will follow up with the company it has contracted to dispose of its waste to see how this happened, and to try to ensure it does not happen again.”


Not the first time

This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. In 2012, a CBC reporter found medical waste strewn along Prince Philip Drive. That time around, the waste included urine samples, vials of blood and used surgical gloves.

The Telegram didn’t open the garbage bag to determine everything that was in it.

Back in 2012, Eastern Health said that apart from the blood vials and the urine samples — which were accidentally placed in the wrong trash stream contrary to protocol — the waste was, supposed to be sent to the dump, and somehow ended up on the side of Prince Philip Drive instead.

After a worker from the health authority came to pick up the bag, O’Brien said that Eastern Health would conduct an investigation.

O’Brien confirmed that the garbage did come from Eastern Health but said no one from Eastern Health would do an interview until they finished the investigation.

Health Minister Paul Davis said that it’s a concern that garbage ended up on the side of the road, but unlike in 2012, it seems like there was no biomedical waste involved.

“Should it happen? No, it shouldn’t happen,” Davis said.

“It’s a bag of garbage that came off a truck on the way to the dump, but it’s not biomedical. It doesn’t have any personal information. It could be a bag of garbage out of the garbage bucket in my office.”