A major piece by Jessica McAllen in The Listener out today. Here’s a summary from The Herald:
Cash-strapped hospitals are using equipment from hardware stores in operations, putting patients at risk, a Listener investigation has found.
Leaked documents and photos reveal some district health boards have been using inferior hardware store versions of expensive surgical-grade equipment.
In other cases single-use devices are reused and other equipment is modified.
The Listener article said tools such as vice grips cost about $50 from a hardware store but $800 if bought through medical companies.
A technician from a lower North Island hospital said cheaper tools were being damaged during the sterilisation process.
“I have seen several of these items that, after one wash, had rusted terribly or had paint chipping off,” the technician told the Listener.
“I’m sure no patient wants to be operated on with items like that.”
In documents released under the Official Information Act it was revealed in the past two years DHBs have identified hundreds of non-surgical-grade items and removed them from operating theatres.
These included rusty vice grips, retractors (used for holding open incisions) that were potentially carrying human tissue from patient to patient and modified equipment.
Other incidents included a saw purchased from Mitre 10 and used until the end of 2015 and $100 bolt cutters from Bunnings Warehouse used to cut plates and rods in orthopaedic surgery. …
Listener on sale 2day: hospitals used unsafe hardware store equip in surgery + reused single use items && more pic.twitter.com/RmbFOYxO4E
— Jessica McAllen (@Jess_McAllen) August 6, 2017
— Ben Thomas (@BenThomasNZ) August 7, 2017
— Jessica McAllen (@Jess_McAllen) August 5, 2017
appreciation tweet for "saw point" pic.twitter.com/Fqa7kj3rX2
— Jessica McAllen (@Jess_McAllen) August 7, 2017
(Nice cover to the right of The Listener in that one!)