SRINAGAR: With their unethical practices, the nurses at the SMHS Hospital here are a possible source of infections and major contributors to the tertiary-care centre’s unhygienic conditions.
The nurses are putting everyone’s health at risk by stapling the medical records of patients with used syringe needles.
The nurses manning the wards could be seen using the needles, which are to be disposed of carefully to prevent infections, for stapling the medical records.
The practice poses a threat of infections to everyone who comes in touch with the needles.
About two years ago, the negligence resulted in a doctor getting Hepatitis, but no action was taken, sources in the hospital told Kashmir Reader, blaming the “lack of accountability” at the hospital for the continuation of the unethical practice.
A doctor, preferring anonymity, said: “I always see nurses arranging the medical reports with these needles. They are transmitting infection from one person to the next in the easiest possible way. Medics as well as paramedics are trained to save patients from infection, but here these paramedics are becoming the reason for it (infection).”
“The doctor diagnosed of hepatitis was one reported case. There could be many unreported instances in which a person may have got infected by coming in touch with a used needle. The nurses need to be taught, or their little knowledge will continue to harm people.”
At SMHS Hospital, about 255 nurses are handling the patients in about 20 wards. And the situation appears to be same everywhere.
“I once saw a nurse arranging reports with it. I immediately stopped her, but once I left, she did it again,” another doctor at the hospital said.
Besides being the possible cause of infection, the nurses appear to be the biggest contributors to the unhygienic conditions at the hospital.
Rifat Ashraf, an attendant, narrated: “Last night, I called a nurse to give my mother an intravenous injection. She was playing a game on her phone to keep herself busy when I called her. After my repeated pleas, she came to us, unpacked the syringe, gave my mother the injection, and chucked the used cotton and empty bottle onto the floor. She didn’t bother to use the trash bin that was nearby.”
A security guard at the hospital added: “I often notice the nurses putting waste under the beds of patients. When a doctor notices it, they put the blame on attendants.”
Recently, commissioner secretary Health and Medical Education held a surprise test of nurses about the ethics of biomedical waste segregation at Lal Ded Hospital. None of the nurses could answer him correctly.
The hospital management later took action against them—a move that the nurses condemned, saying they were overburdened with work that should be done by doctors and other technical staff.
To lessen their ‘burden’, the senior nurses shift their responsibilities onto the trainees, who come to the hospital to learn the basic techniques of medical procedures.
The senior nurses, from whom they are supposed to learn, rarely guide them, leaving an immense room for medical negligence to occur.
“A couple of days ago, I saw a trainee nurse giving two different antibiotics to a patient at the same time. It’s not fatal, but it isn’t permissible either. There has to be a gap between two antibiotics. But she did it, and no senior nurse was there to guide her,” a doctor shared.
He said the trainee nurses don’t sometimes know how to given an injection.
“They come to ask us about it, because they are not guided by the senior nurses,” he said.
Zamrooda Akhtar, Incharge Nursing Superintendent at SMHS Hospital, said, “I have given a stapler to every nurse, but I don’t know why they are using syringe needles to pin the medical reports.”
She admitted that the nurses might not be disposing of the waste properly, but “we give them classes whenever they are free”.
“We teach them about biomedical waste management. Yet, there is a need of a workshop so that nurses could learn about procedures and techniques.”