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Health Dept orders probe into incidents of broken needles stuck in patients

2019-11-27

“We have suspended the staff responsible for negligence in the Uchipuli case and other incidents are also being investigated to ascertain exactly what went wrong. In case of negligence, action will be taken against the medical staff involved in the case,” said Health Secretary Beela Rajesh. The government hospitals in the city procure syringes from TNMSC that issues tenders to private companies to supply syringes. After the incidents surfaced, the State Health Department instructed TNMSC to conduct a detailed inquiry to check quality of the needles supplied to the government hospitals.

“The TNMSC will check on availability and quality of needles supplied to the government hospitals. If there is a requirement to make changes in the quality or types of the needles being supplied for various medical procedures in government hospitals, we will proceed accordingly and provide needles as per medical procedures,” the Health Secretary added.

Needles issued in only one size, say docs

Needles issued in only one size, say docs

As the series of cases of needles breaking and getting lodged in patients’ bodies set off concerns including medical negligence and substandard equipment, experienced doctors say that it could be because government hospitals only have small size needles, though they should be available in all three sizes – small, medium and large. “The muscle thickness and weight of the patient determine which needle would be appropriate to be administered on the patient. There are chances that a needle can get lodged in the tissues if the muscle thickness is more and the needle is small in size,” said Dr R Shanthi, consultant obstetrician. Moreover, she added, the procedure is very painful and adequate lighting, availability of proper table to perform suturing, and leggings to prevent movement of the patient are necessary even in Primary Health Centres. “However, these are not available in majority of PHCs,” she added. Associations representing government doctors, too, alleged lack of adequate facilities and equipment at government hospitals, which leads to such incidence almost every year. “There is a high probability that the needles, equipment or even implants supplied by Tamil Nadu Medical Supplies Corporation are of substandard quality. However, it cannot be regarded as negligence on the part of medical staff alone. There can be other factors, too. But medical staff should check the quality of the needle before administering it,” said Dr GR Ravindranath, secretary, Doctors’ Association for Social Equality.

As the series of cases of needles breaking and getting lodged in patients’ bodies set off concerns including medical negligence and substandard equipment, experienced doctors say that it could be because government hospitals only have small size needles, though they should be available in all three sizes – small, medium and large.

“The muscle thickness and weight of the patient determine which needle would be appropriate to be administered on the patient. There are chances that a needle can get lodged in the tissues if the muscle thickness is more and the needle is small in size,” said Dr R Shanthi, consultant obstetrician.

Moreover, she added, the procedure is very painful and adequate lighting, availability of proper table to perform suturing, and leggings to prevent movement of the patient are necessary even in Primary Health Centres. “However, these are not available in majority of PHCs,” she added.

Associations representing government doctors, too, alleged lack of adequate facilities and equipment at government hospitals, which leads to such incidence almost every year.

“There is a high probability that the needles, equipment or even implants supplied by Tamil Nadu Medical Supplies Corporation are of substandard quality. However, it cannot be regarded as negligence on the part of medical staff alone. There can be other factors, too. But medical staff should check the quality of the needle before administering it,” said Dr GR Ravindranath, secretary, Doctors’ Association for Social Equality.

2019-11-27 suspended negligence uchipuli incidents investigated ascertain beela rajesh hospitals procure syringes tnmsc tenders surfaced instructed conduct detailed inquiry needles supplied availability requirement various procedures accordingly issued docsneedles docsas lodged substandard sizes medium thickness determine administered tissues shanthi consultant obstetrician moreover adequate lighting suturing leggings movement primary centres majority phcs associations representing alleged facilities incidence probability implants tamil nadu corporation regarded factors administering gr ravindranath association equality

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