Inthis paper the author will discuss different scenarios in the sterileprocessing lab in which deficiencies and poor job performance can cause harm ordeath to patients. Around 70,000 deaths occur every year from infections contractedby patients during their stay in the hospital. In the sterile processing lab greatlengths are taken to ensure all instruments that leave the lab are sterile andready for use. However, let’s assume there is an overwhelmed employee who isconstantly running behind and has come under fire for being too slow. Inreality the hospital is undermanned but this employee feels his job is in jeopardyso he begins to take short cuts. Examples of these short cuts could be notexamining equipment properly for Bio Burden or not allowing instruments toreceive enough drying time.
So due to these short cuts equipment is going intothe OR that is not sterile. As a result, patients are at a higher risk of catchingan infection in the hospital. Infections can range from UTI’s and skin rashesto several antibiotic resistant infections that can cause death. This examplecould be prevented by proper manning and personnel management. Hospitals administratorsmust insure that departments are properly manned and equipped.
The next example involves poorlymaintained sterile processing areas and equipment. This example includes properhousekeeping. For example, if the area is not regularly wiped and mopped it quicklybecomes unsanitary. Imagine a clean side that is covered in dust particles thatdust could easily begin to coat instruments before they are packaged. Anotherexample would be not running the proper test on equipment to ensure its runningproperly.
The Dart and Bowie test are one example another would be a faultywater purification system. When proper maintenance isn’t completed it canresult in the proper parameters not being met to ensure items are properlycleaned and sterilized. In closing we must all realize thatthe simplest oversight or perceived shortcut can and will cause either harm ordeath to patients. I leave you with an old saying from Benjamin Franklyn “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, orthe want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider waslost, For the want of a rider the battle was lost, For the want of a battle thekingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.” https://www.cdc.gov/HAI/pdfs/hai/infections_deaths.pdf https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/03/26/294720566/1-in-25-hospital-patients-picks-up-an-infection-there http://learn.sterilizers.com.s148330.gridserver.com/blog/how-to-maintain-a-sterilizer/#.Wm5P7FQ-eu4 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876034116300983https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/626466-for-the-want-of-a-nail-the-shoe-was-lost