Hospital blunder deemed serious

STAFF at Bundaberg Hospital face disciplinary action after a sterilisation procedure blunder which has left 235 people in limbo while they wait for blood test results.

Minister for Health Paul Lucas described the matter as serious.

“It should be no risk if the procedures are performed appropriately, and that is what is so concerning,” Mr Lucas said.

“If disciplinary action of the most severe kind needs to be taken, then so be it.”

Mr Lucas also expressed his anger at the situation and hit back when Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said the incident indicated a lack of resources.

“How could it be a lack of resources not to look at a tag to see that something was sterilised or not?” Mr Lucas said.

When an item is sterilised, a tag on the packaging changes colour indicating the process is complete.

Kevin Hegarty, Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District chief executive officer, said the number of patients who had been treated with potentially non-sterile instruments between November 6 and 13 had been confirmed at 235.

At 1pm yesterday, 187 of those patients had been contacted.

Mr Hegarty said clinics had been established to see those requesting testing.

Mr Hegarty also confirmed the 33 patients who had the instruments used on them prior to the sterilisation bungle had been contacted for testing.

The test results from those patients will be known from this Friday.



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