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Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi Pdvsa « ||||*&* ||70 //
POSGH Sterilization Unit goes down: Staff dumping uncleaned tools

Staff at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital have been exposed to a high risk of contracting infections as the central sterilization unit there has been dysfunctional for over four years.

Recently, the last of four sterilization machines broke down leaving workers unable to sterilize medical instruments. The washer equipment, for example, has not been working since 2013.

Photos reaching the T&T Guardian showed scores of surgical scissors, blades and scalpels, as well as medical clamps are being dumped or stored in buckets after use instead of being immediately sterilized and re-packaged to send back up to the various wards and operating theatres for further use.

Photos also showed piles of medical waste, stowed away in bio-hazardous-ready bags, in a dump den located at the back of the hospital?s mortuary awaiting proper disposal.

A staff member at the unit, who did not want to be identified for fear of victimisation, said that not only staff and patients at the hospital were at risk of infection, but also those at the various health centres throughout the North West Regional Health Authority.

?We do all sterilization for all the health centres in the region, so it?s a widespread concern. It?s gross, unsanitary and unhealthy for all who come in contact with these instruments,? the staff member said.

?For over four years two of the machines broke down.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
The third one broke down and then would be temporarily operational but more times its down. Then over the past two months the fourth machine broke down and the unit is left now without sterilization machines.?

The staff member added: ?Sometimes we are forced to manually sterilize the instruments to have them packaged to send back up to the wards and theatres, but it is very risky for us to even do that where our health is concerned.

?It?s a hell hole inside of here and it has been here for years, since the time of the last government.?

Another staffer admitted that numerous reports have been made during the last administration?s tenure in office and even this present one, but noted that ?all those reports seem to have fallen on deaf ears and blinded eyes.?

Up to yesterday, the T&T Guardian was told that the situation remained the same despite a ?surprise visit? made by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and the chief executive officer (CEO)Sheldon Cyrus on the Eid Holiday (June 25).

?No one knew the Minister was coming and when he came into the unit and he saw the state it was in he was so shocked and certainly not pleased, but up to Friday the bags are still overflowing at the dump den and the used instruments waiting to be sterilized are still in the buckets,? the staffer said.

When contacted for comment on the issue, Deyalsingh admitted that he was disturbed and disappointed over what he saw during his surprise visit and solely blamed the executive management for the current situation.

?When the kitchen staff protested I decided to go and see for myself, so I only contacted the CEO one hour before my arrival.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
At the kitchen I noticed total neglect. At the Sterilization Unit, the same thing,? Deyalsingh told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview.

?While there, I was also given a tour by an orderly of the Accident and Emergency Department and its minor operating theatre.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
It is in a shockingly bad condition and I realise that all this has been happening for over five years.

?All the requests to the executive management and the last board over the past five years have been ignored.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
The hospital?s administrator is to be blamed for all this.?

Deyalsingh said as minister, until he can get the executive staff to deal with the issues he is now taking the responsibility.

?My management style is to allow people to do their jobs before I intervene.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
In this case, I accept this responsibility to fix all these minor infrastructural problems and other issues.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
Whilst minor, if they are not working properly it could have major consequences and it?s not going to cost millions but a few thousands of dollars.?

With respect to the Sterilization Unit, Deyalsingh said purchase orders have already been sent out to get the required parts to repair the machines.

He also gave the assurance that the medical instruments are being sterilized ?using other machinery.?

?There is no risk of infection, but that does not excuse what is going on there.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
I am disturbed and disappointed that the pleas of healthcare workers have been ignored for five years but it will stop with me.?

Last month, at least 50 workers attached to the hospital?s kitchen also protested over the conditions they were being forced to work in.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi
They complained that they were not being supplied with proper utensils and appliances to carry out their duties.


© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi PDVSA

Tags: Estados Unidos