Infection control in anaesthesia in regional, tertiary and central hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal. Part 1: Unsafe injection practices among anaesthetists
Keywords:Reuse syringes, reuse vials, unsafe injection, infection control, anaesthesia
AbstractObjectives: Unsafe injection and vial usage practices, including the reuse of needles and syringes for different patients, is one of the leading causes of the iatrogenic spread of blood-borne diseases. A study was conducted to determine the prevalence of the reuse of single-patient syringes and spinal fentanyl ampoules among anaesthetists at regional, tertiary and central hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal. Method: All hospitals that are classified as regional, tertiary and central hospitals on the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health website were visited. All encountered anaesthetists, regardless of rank or experience, were invited to complete a simple questionnaire in confidence. Results: Ninety-one anaesthesiologists and anaesthetic practitioners completed the questionnaire. Thirteen (14%) of the anaesthetists admitted to reusing syringes on different patients. Seventeen (19%) of the anaesthetists admitted to reusing syringes on different patients after they had changed the needle or set. Fifty-seven (63%) practitioners acknowledged reusing single-use fentanyl ampoules for multiple patients. Conclusion: The reuse of single-use syringes and single-use vials for multiple patients is an unacceptable practice. This issue should be urgently addressed.
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