Zit Seng's Blog

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Multi-Dose Vials But A Scapegoat

DSC01438I sense, and I think many others too, that something is amiss with the hepatitis C infection episode at the Singapore General Hospital. Somebody, clearly, screwed up. Then, there’s also the matter of how the infections, which started from April, only came to public attention this week. Then, the unfortunately multi-dose vials have been made a scapegoat.

Multi-dose vials contain liquid medicine that are used more than once, possibly by more than one patient. Every time you use a multi-dose vial, you use a new syringe and a new needle. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this practice. Contamination would not happen. I don’t understand how a hospital could lay blame on, or suspect, multi-dose vials as a probably cause.

It most likely has to be human error involved, if the use of multi-dose vials had been involved. For example, contamination could have happened if needs are reused, or syringes are reused. In such circumstances, stopping the use of multi-dose vials would hardly have made a difference. If someone did not understand that needles and syringes should not be reused, then they would still be making the same errors, multi-dose vials or not.

Someone, or some people, screwed up big time. It’s simple as that.

There’s of course also that possibility for the infection to have been caused intentionally, i.e. it was malicious or sabotage.

I also find it odd that the Ministry of Health would not know about this earlier. Yes, I know, it was reported that Singapore General Hospital only alerted the ministry about the cluster of infection in late August. However, don’t the hospitals, including clinics and other medical providers, have to report health statistics to the ministry regularly? Surely this unusual infection should have been noted.

On another note, I think someone should give our politicians a thesaurus. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong was only, merely, deeply concerned over this incident. It sounds suspiciously like incidents over MRT breakdowns and causeway security breaches.

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