Broken down sterilization machine affecting patient care at Browne’s Avenue Clinic

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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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At least six patients who required dressing for wounds, were turned away from the Browne’s Avenue Clinic recently because, according to staff there, the equipment used to sterilize the necessary equipment and materials has been out of commission for almost eight months.

In or prevent the spread of infections in hospitals and health centres, etc, the autoclave — also called a steam sterilizer – is used to sterilize of medical instruments and materials used in surgeries, procedures, and patient services.

 “It’s a new year with the same old problems. Today about six patients sat from 8 am to 12 pm waiting for dressings. But the sterilizing machine that has been broken down since May of last year has still not been replaced,” a health care professional assigned to the clinic told our newsroom.

According to the individual, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the machine was taken away to be fixed but a specialist reported that it could not be repaired.

 “We are left without such a vital machine and have to be begging other clinics to assist. A woman who is diabetic and had three toes amputated sat there this morning waiting to see if the cotton and gauze we begged Mount St John’s Medical Centre would have arrived, but nothing came,” the worker said.

“How can anyone be expected to work when the basic necessities are not being provided? Nurses and staff are not at fault here; in times like these they go out of their way even at times spending their own money just so we can have the basics.”

The source said the workers there would go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure patients are assisted.

 “What happened today actually made tears come to my eyes because that diabetic lady had to pay a taxi to get here and didn’t even have breakfast — to be sitting there in vain until lunch.”

Meanwhile, apart from the equipment, the staff said they lack basic necessities.

 “How about some paint for the waiting room, a working water fountain so patients can have water to take meds, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc? We are not asking for a new building, just for the proper upkeep of the one we have.”

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