Jul 29, 2018 News
The Woodlands Hospital is not taking lightly, reports which suggest that its pre-disposal storage of bio-hazardous waste is especially wanting. Bio-hazardous waste is any waste containing infectious materials or potentially infections substances such as blood.
The privately operated hospital located on Carmichael Street, Georgetown is refusing to accept blame for reports which suggest that it has thrown caution to the wind when it comes to its medical waste.
In an invited comment to this publication the hospital’s Administrator, Mr. Deonarine Memraj, made it clear that reports of spilled medical waste or seeping blood from the bags containing such waste is entirely the fault of the sanitation workers who are contracted to remove the waste.
He shared photographs of a well kept waste storage area where receptacles are all orderly aligned.
However, photographs published by this newspaper last week revealed an overflowing receptacle and streams of blood on the ground nearby.
The hospital, at a cost, utilizes the services of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC’]s Hydroclave Department to remove its medical waste.
“It is unfortunate that when the sanitation workers from the Facility Management [at] GPHC collect our medical waste, how it is handled,” Memraj opined. He explained, “The workers wheel their bin from the [waste disposal] truck on Carmichael Street to our collection area where the waste is then transferred and removed.”
According to the hospital administrator, “During this process, excessive numbers of bags are sometimes placed in bins and this causes puncture to some bags and content to escape.”
He, however, asserted that once the waste is removed, the area and bins are then sanitized with bleach and replaced.
Currently the GPHC provides its waste disposal service to the Woodlands Hospital on Thursday of each week. But according to Memraj, “requests for twice weekly collection to minimize the volume were denied.”
But the administration of the GPHC is also not prepared to accept the blame for the shortcomings at the private hospital. A spokesperson for the GPHC said that the public hospital has been working to suit the request of the Woodlands Hospital.
“They have requested pick up of bio-hazardous waste once per week and we offer that service on each Thursday…They have not requested any other days. There are other institutions that have asked us to facilitate pick-ups on other days and we have been doing that for them and we are willing to do that for Woodlands too if they so request,” said the spokesperson.
This publication was informed that the spillage of the medical waste is a situation that obtains because the sanitation workers are forced to collect the waste by accessing the Woodlands Hospital compound through a narrow alleyway.
“They don’t allow them [the sanitation workers] to enter through the main entrance and using the alleyway makes it difficult for the sanitation workers to do their job properly,” said an official who commented on the matter yesterday.
The official also noted, that the onus remains on any health facility to ensure that its environment is beyond reproach.
The medical waste storage situation was first brought to the attention of the media, by way of email, from a resident who lives in close proximity to the Woodlands Hospital.
The resident opted to share the situation with the media after becoming peeved by the perceived inaction on the part of the Environmental Health Unit of the Ministry of Public Health.
However, an official at the Ministry said that the matter was under investigation and even shared that it is gaining the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] too.
On Friday the hospital was subjected to a visit from officials of the EPA who are looking into the concerns leveled by the resident.
“I am very concerned at the blatant disregard of environmental welfare and safety which this hospital is showing to both the surrounding neighbours and your Ministry,” the resident detailed in an email to the Public Health Minister even as an appeal was made for an inspection of the hospital.
The resident is worried that the state of affairs has been lending to the exposure of the neighbourhood to germs and by extension diseases. The resident reported of illness within the home which is suspected to be directly linked to the situation in the hospital’s compound.
According to the resident, “Both my children are ill at the moment and I am convinced it’s the transference of germs being spread by the cats, flies and rats eating this waste and then going about their business in the yard.”
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