What happens if a surgeon accidentally drops an instrument on the floor, picks it up and reuses, without it going through a steriliser? Should this be allowed to happen? Well it did!
I was once working in a private operating theatre where, to my horror, the surgeon accidentally dropped an instrument on the floor, picked it up and reused it without it going through a steriliser. In my 30 years of working as a theatre nurse, I had never seen anything like this. I felt sick to my stomach! Is this what happens in private hospitals?
I reported it immediately to the senior staff on duty and also the theatre manager. I also sent through a report at the end of the case. Nothing happened, except my shifts were blocked for reporting the incident .
I no longer work in that hospital. I feel hurt. My mental health has also suffered as I feel tortured.
I question myself. Did I do the right thing by reporting it? Because now I do not have a job and I am using my savings to survive.
If I was a permanent member of staff, I would still be working. Is this why staff do not report incidents? For fear of losing their jobs?
What about the safety of the patient?
I tried calling to speak to anyone who would listen. I did not have any luck – I found all avenues were blocked. There was no Speak Up Guardians in post.
I feel I did the right thing by reporting it, but I was not supported by management. Where is the system in private hospitals to protect locum theatre staff? Why is this allowed to go on? In theatres, we are the patient's advocate. We are only there to ensure the patient is safe at all times.
Would I do things differently if it happens again, now that I know the consequences?
Yes! Absolutely 100%.
I will continue to speak up and send through a report.
What will you do?
About the Author
Theatre scrub nurse, private hospital.