On February 1, 2011, the FDA issues a News Release about the use of non-sterile alcohol prep pads in certain clinical situations.
“Non-sterile pads are not intended to prep patients prior to procedures requiring strict sterility measures and should not be used on patients with a depressed immune system, to prep patients for catheter insertion, or to prep patients prior to surgery.”
This reminder/warning was issued in the wake of a recall on January 5th of all lots of alcohol prep pads and swabs manufactured by The Triad Group of Hartland, Wisconsin citing concerns about the product’s potential contamination with Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can be harmful to humans.
While I guess we all need reminders now and then, do healthcare professionals really use non-sterile pads for pre-procedure prep when sterile technique is called for? Isn’t this basic training?
We have heard over and over again about the problems with infection control in medical facilities. Isn’t this a basic way to improve infection control – using sterile prep pads when doing open or penetrating skin procedures? Oh my!
While we in law deal with the end-result of failures to use “sterile techniques” – including the basic concept of using sterile pads - is this really such a problem in the healthcare industry that the FDA needs to remind providers to use the right kind of pad?
A number of our readers are members of the healthcare profession. Tell us – please, is this really a problem in the industry? Are there not basic protocol, stock control, safety measures in place that deal with this apparent problem? The rest of our readers either have been a patient or have a family member who’s been a patient; have you ever encountered a problem with an infection because your provider used the wrong type of prep pad?
Image from dailymed.nlm.nih.gov