An almost-successful attempt at stealing bottles of infected blood from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) highlighted the inadequate measures in place for proper disposal of medical waste.
The thief, a young scavenger, managed to get bottles of infected blood in his bag before he was spotted by a security guard. As the guard shouted, he dropped the bag the and made a run for it.
According to hospital sources, the bottles, lying outside a medical ward, were containing hepatitis B/C and HIV positive blood and were to be picked up and transferred to incinerator plants for safe disposal.
The incident indicates to inadequate measures for the proper disposal of medical waste at Pims.
The measures in place are simply not enough to prevent such an incident, according to a doctor. The doctor, asking not to be named, said blood theft is not a new issue at Pims.
The doctor lamented over the absence of proper equipment for disposal of waster material, adding that the administration is paying a hefty amount of rent for private incinerators.
In 2006, a waste management project for the hospital was planned, but the project was delayed to due managerial issues. Later in 2009, the proposal was forwarded to the planning commission for approval, but the project never materialised.
Pims Joint Executive Administration Director Dr Altaf Hussain said it is too early to claim that the blood was infected, as the bags were containing 34 whole blood and 165 white blood bags. However, the records of the blood bank have been sealed.
Pims Deputy Director Dr Zulfiqar Ghauri, when contacted, said it was “not a big incident”, however, he added that a committee has been formed to probe the issue. Ghauri is also part of the committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2012.
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