Friday, June 15, 2012

Labor and Delivery Unit gives OR supplies a second life

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Ferrari, at left, and Clinton

Since launching a unique, cost-free recycling program two years ago, the MGH Vincent Obstetrics & Gynecology Labor and Delivery Unit has distributed more than 6,000 supplies to resource-limited health care facilities worldwide, including to countries such as Haiti, Sudan and Uganda.

“It’s really amazing,” says Angela Ferrari, CNM, MS, nurse midwife, who co-chairs the program with physician Erik Clinton, MD. “This program has turned out to be so easy, and it’s great that we get to connect with others both locally and globally.”

Prior to every operation, Ferrari says, the Blake 14 operating rooms (OR) are stocked with pre-packaged bags of sterilized materials – including gauze, gloves, placenta buckets and bulb syringes. Even if supplies go untouched during a procedure, they normally are discarded because the packaging has been opened. Now, however, instead of throwing them away, they are collected, sorted and distributed to locations that otherwise would not have access to such supplies.

“This program is sustained by about 15 nurses, midwives and physicians from the unit,” Ferrari says. “We’ve been able to share these materials with the local community, and MGH global travelers from any department can take these supplies abroad. We also work with a medical materials clearinghouse that identifies international needs and ships to a number of countries.”

Another benefit of the program is that the OR staff has been able to more closely monitor what supplies are used during certain types of surgeries – allowing them to adjust what and how many supplies are included in the sterilized bags.

“Since we started this in the fall of 2010, the program has grown tremendously, and we’ve worked out a really good system,” Clinton says. “We waste almost nothing, as 90 percent of the supplies can be recycled. It’s great that the whole department is supportive, and we hope that we can now help other departments at MGH set up similar programs.”

Read more articles from the 6/15/12 Hotline issue.


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