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Found 8 results
  1. Content Article
    During my many years of working in operating theatres, I observed that hydrogen peroxide was adopted by surgeons as a ritual for washing out wounds and deep cavities. An entire bottle of 200 ml hydrogen peroxide was mixed with 200 ml of normal saline. It seems this ritual was passed down from consultant to trainee and it then became a habit. In a recent post on the hub, I mentioned that women in 1920 were given Lysol as a disinfectant to preserve their feminity and maritial bliss! Lysol contains hydrogen peroxide, so women were daily irrigating their vaginas with a harmful solution of fizz, unaware of the hazards. I believe it is still being used to colour hair, remove blood stains, as a mouthwash gargle and also to whiten teeth. Then suddenly a breakthrough! In 2014, in my email inbox, a yellow sticker warning appeared from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regarding the use of hydrogen peroxide in deep cavities. So why did the MHRA ban the use of hydrogen peroxide in deep cavities? Hydrogen peroxide is contraindicated for use in closed body cavities or on deep or large wounds due to the risk of gas embolism. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down rapidly to water and oxygen on contact with tissues. If this reaction occurs in an enclosed space, the large amount of oxygen produced can cause gas embolism.[1] There has been several case reports that have been published from around the world of life threatening or fatal gas embolism with use of hydrogen peroxide in surgery, of which five were from the UK. Most of the global reports describe cardiorespiratory collapse occurring within seconds to minutes of instillation of hydrogen peroxide as wound irrigation or when used to soak swabs for wound packing. This was sometimes accompanied by features associated with excess gas generation such as surgical emphysema, pneumocephalus, aspiration of gas from central venous lines, or the presence of gas bubbles on transoesophageal echocardiography. Non-fatal events were sometimes associated with permanent neurological damage such as neuro-vegetative state and hypoxic encephalopathy.[1] As the Practice Development Lead for the theatre department where I worked it was my role to pass on and act on the information received from the MHRA, so I discussed it with my very supportive theatre manager and then escalated to the theatre staff. But some consultants still ask for it today; it is always refused. So why do consultants request it when they are aware of the hazards? One theatre never event describes a syringe of hydrogen peroxide given to a consultant and injected into a joint instead of the required local anaesthetic![2] The patient survived but required care in the intensive care unit. As a scrub nurse practitioner this scares me. What about you? Would you now research this yellow sticker alert further, implement best practice and speak up, or would you just keep quiet and go "with the flow?" We all make mistakes, but learning from our errors will always be the ultimate key to improvement in healthcare and best practice and safety for our patients. References 1. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Hydrogen peroxide: reminder of risk of gas embolism when used in surgery. 19 December 2014. 2. Chung J and Jeong M. Oxygen embolism caused by accidental subcutaneous injection of hydrogen peroxide during orthopedic surgery. A case report. Medicine (Baltimore) 2017; 96(43): e8342.
  2. Content Article
    This issue (episode 3) focuses on: safe administration of concentrated insulin products errors with confusing product labelling educating patients about safe medication practices.
  3. Content Article
    There are currently 237 million medication errors every year. While the safety risks are small in most of these cases, for some patients there are serious risks because of errors in prescribing, dispensing or monitoring medications. NHS Digital’s newly published medications guidance aims to change this, by making sure that information about medicines can be shared digitally between systems in different care settings. This podcast talks about the real benefits this will bring, and how it will impact both clinicians and patients.
  4. Content Article
    Five root causes for accidental sharing of pens were identified: knowledge gaps and practice variation labels insulin storage and removal process information technology issues including those related to barcode medication administration and the electronic health record insulin administration workflow. Four major interventions to address the root causes were developed and tested: patient-specific bar coding on insulin pens redesign of labels systematic removal of discharged patients’ medications ongoing staff education.
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