You might be knowing that in any hospital, the waste is segregated at the collection point. i.e. there are different coloured garbage bags in which different types of wastes are to be put in. For eg, in JIPMER, I've seen three different coloured bags which are kept in all wards, operating rooms, procedure rooms etc. for different kinds of wastes. So if I have to discard an used needle, I'll have to destroy it and throw it in a BLUE bag only. So for the whole system to work efficiently and for the purpose to be fulfilled requires a lot of commitment and motivation from each and every person inside the hospital including the patients.
Now, I was posted in Medicine dept. for two weeks and so I was in one of the the medicine wards. There in a corner was kept an YELLOW coloured garbage bag. Just above it, on the wall, was written " Keep BLUE BAGS only ". That particular corner was near the injection trolley and hence more waste sharps will be generated there. So it would be easy for people to throw them into the BLUE bag if it was kept there. But an YELLOW bag was kept there by mistake and people were throwing wastes which had to be thrown into BLUE bags!
I called the nursing sister in-charge of that ward and showed this to her. To my utter surprise, she just laughed at it and went away. She thought I was making fun of it and she enjoyed the joke!
A week later, I'm in Christian Medical College, Vellore for a workshop on Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and HPLC. During my visit there, I saw that in CMC there were five different coloured bags kept at waste collection sites. (in JIPMER we have three). And there were also many posters at different places displaying information on which type of waste had to be disposed in each of the coloured garbage bags.
We were receiving hands-on training with the HPLC operations in their labs. Once I was using the pipettes and doing some drug extraction. After pipetting, I removed my gloves and I was searching for a RED bag to throw it into. (as per their protocol, PPE* had to be thrown into RED bags). But somehow I didn't find any red bag nearby. Considering the fact that my gloves didn't come into contact with any infective material while pipetting, I threw the gloves into the GREEN bag nearby. The senior lab in-charge came and she asked me where I'd disposed my gloves. She probably asked this cause she expected that I would't have noticed the RED bag under the cover of an instrument. So when she asked me, I pointed to the GREEN bag. Without any hesitation, she wore a glove, put her hand into the garbage bag, removed the gloves I'd thrown into and put them into the RED bag. I was appalled by what she did. She was the senior-most yet she didn't order anyone else to do it. And she didn't ignore it as well.
I'm not saying CMC is better than JIPMER. NO. That is not what this post has to convey. But what is the level of commitment we have? Are we motivated to contribute to the success of the system in a positive way? Doesn't that make a difference?
I'll leave you here....with a synapticspark !
*PPE - Personal Protective Equipment