Monday, 17 October 2011

Hospitals Debate Ban on Alcohol Pads and Wipes after Infection Death

With a growing number of hospital-acquired infections being linked to contaminated alcohol prep pads, Arizona medical malpractice attorneys wonder whether it's time to ban the use of nonsterile pads in hospitals altogether.

Last week, Pacific Disposables International Inc. announced a massive recall of potentially contaminated pads and wipes. The Pacific Disposables recall came after the death of a man from a bacillus cereus infection. The pads had been used on the man, a hemophiliac, just prior to an infusion. He contracted a serious infection and died in June. In September, the company announced a recall.

This recall had been preceded by another recall of millions of contaminated wipes manufactured by Wisconsin-based Triad Group Inc. and S&P Products earlier this year. That recall was announced after several infections and deaths were associated with the use of contaminated pads.

Alcohol and non-alcohol pads and wipes are used widely in hospitals and healthcare facilities, and are also sold as part of home kits. Not all pads are sterile - roughly about 70% are, while the remaining are non-sterile. However, most of the packaging in which these pads come, do not mention whether they are sterile or non sterile. Additionally, safety information isn’t included when the pads are sold as part of home kits. This increases the potential of errors when people mistakenly believe that the pads are sterile.

Some hospitals are choosing to switch over to only sterile alcohol pads. Others are taking a wait-and-watch approach, to see if the Food and Drug Administration has any further guidance or any changes in policy before making a decision about using non-sterile pads. For Arizona medical malpractice attorneys however, the choice seems to be clear. There shouldn't be any place for nonsterile pads in a hospital.

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