India’s top hospital AIIMS using ‘killer’ needles
India’s Top Hospital AIIMS Using ‘Killer’ Needles. It\'s the most trustworthy brand of government healthcare, soon to be replicated across the states of the nation.
It's the most trustworthy brand of government healthcare, soon to be replicated across the states of the nation.
A Mail Today investigation has revealed that non-surgical consumables like blood collection needles, blood collection tubes and infusion sets are being used way beyond their expiry date in the country's premier medical institute.
But the state of affairs in the Capital's All India Institute of Medical Sciences is no longer something to be proud of.
A visit to the Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic sciences at AIIMS uncovered the rather morbid situation that patients who are mostly unable to see the consumables being used in their treatment are being fooled.
Om Prakash Pandey from Bihar is one of them.
Both eyes covered with bandages, he had come for eye surgery.
Scores of tests were being performed on him even as an intravenous transfusion dripped into his blood.
Pandey is a curious man; he kept bombarding the nurses and ward boys with questions on his treatment and the medicines being given to him.
The staffers were cordial and polite, telling him not to worry and that he would be perfectly fine after surgery. But Pandey is a trusting man as well.
Questions answered, he fell asleep, blissfully ignorant of the fact that the needles with which the nurse took his blood samples had already expired and the infusion set through which he was getting the drip should have been discarded two years ago.
Adding to the tragedy of the situation, Pandey's relatives are unlettered, and they too remain unaware of the expiry danger he is being put through.
Head of Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences at AIIMS Dr Shakti Gupta said he is not aware of any such practice and that he does not directly look after the stores. That cannot be of any comfort to the scores of patients who pass through AIIMS with hope.
In a guarded statement, AIIMS admitted the possibility of such practices.
"We are not aware of the details regarding this practice in AIIMS. The premier institute follows high level of hygiene and good practices for patients. Consumables like blood collection needles, blood collection tubes and infusion sets should be sterilised and checked for expiry dates," said spokesperson Dr Amit Gupta.
"If this is happening in AIIMS, this is very unfortunate. An investigation and enquiry in this matter will be initiated very soon and the persons responsible would be taken to task," he added.
Expired consumables are being used in the New Private ward, and the ophthalmology and haematology departments.
AIIMS sources claimed that the same stock is being circulated in other departments too.
Commonly used on patients is the infusion set manufactured by Romsons Juniors India, Unit II C- 1 Foundry Nagar, Agra. The stock was manufactured in April 2008 and the expired in March 2012. It's the same with blood collection needles called as BD Vacutainer flashback, manufactured by Becton Dickinson Medical (s) PTE Ltd Singapore and imported and distributed by Becton Dickinson India Pvt Ltd. 204 Tolstoy house, 15 Tolstoy Marg New Delhi (Cat no 301746).
The year of import for this stock was 2012, and the units expired in March 2014.
Mail Today checked out the store of the haematology department where cardboard cartons of these stocks are piled almost to the ceiling.
Hospital staffers buzz in and out through the day, scurrying away with consumables from this stock for use in wards and other departments related to blood collection and testing.
"The patients admitted to AIIMS are at risk. The expiration date on needles for puncture in blood veins is related to the sterility of the product. There is a certain limit till they are free of any infectious agents like bacteria and virus. When these consumables expire, they become susceptible to infection and dust. Tubes also have a pressure factor that may hamper blood test results," said one AIIMS source.
"There seems to be some irregularity in the procurement of these items that we are not aware of. Perhaps, on paper they are showing that they have procured new items but they are using the expired consumables and embezzling the money in the name of these products," said the source.
Experts say that one should always check the expiry dates of evacuated blood collection tubes, and these tubes should not be used beyond their expiration date.
"Expired tubes may have a decreased vacuum, resulting in a short draw and leading to an improper blood to additive ratio. Expired tubes may also have changes to their additive, which can affect test results," said one.