Why Choose Alternative Cancer Treatments (25)

High risks involved in accidental spillage of chemotherapy drugs

by Healing Cancer Naturally © June 2007Copyright Notice

Following up from On Chemotherapy, the below gives more clear evidence of just how toxic chemotherapeutic agents truly are. It is extracted and/or paraphrased from an article published by a Duke University website specialising in autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants (bone marrow transplants) with what is called accompaying supportive chemotherapy. While the article is written with a light-hearted humourous touch to teach health care workers with repeated occupational exposure to chemotherapeutic agents how to safely cope with accidental chemo spills, the implications are both chilling and eye-opening for those who trust chemotherapy to be a helpful treatment for cancer.

Safety measures required after accidental spillage of chemotherapy drugs

The special care required from nurses etc. faced with an accidental spillage of chemotherapy drugs include the following measures:

Chemotherapy spills under 5 cc. can be cleansed by using a “chemotherapy spill kit” according to the written instructions coming with the kit.

Spills larger than 5 cc. require

  • a call to 911, the Occupational & Environmental Safety Office - OESO.
  • blocking off access to the affected area or alternatively, the placement of warning signs to clearly mark the area.
  • getting the “chemotherapy spill kit” (such kits are to be kept ready where chemotherapy is routinely prepared or administered and include the following garments and other items: disposable protective coveralls constructed of a low-permeability fabric, disposable gloves set, one made from latex to be worn inside the coverall and one pair of rubber utility/latex gloves to be worn on top, safety goggles, absorbent plastic-backed sheets or spill pads, disposable scoop for collecting glass fragments, duct tape, plastic waste disposal bags, Zip-lock bags, Tyvek shoe covers.
  • donning the coverall and two pairs of gloves
  • picking up broken glass or debris using the scoop provided in the chemo spill kit, placing them in a "sharps container", which must be replaced immediately.
  • blotting up liquids using the absorbent spill pads
  • washing the spill area: once using hydrogen peroxide and twice using a detergent solution like Hexidine, Hibiclean, or Benzalkonium Chloride
  • after each wash, rinsing the spill area well with clean distilled water.

Further measures include among others:

  • placing any items contaminated with chemotherapy, such as pads/toweling, shoe covers, and outer gloves under securely sealed double covers (first and second chemo waste disposal bag) and disposing of them in biohazard waste containers. Only the goggles can be reprocessed and are sent to pharmacy bagged separately in a zip-lock bag.

The entire required safety procedures after an accidental chemotherapy spill used to be published at www2.mc.duke.edu/9200bmt/ChemoSpill1.htm and included what to do

  • if broken glass or a needle (syringe) has pierced the health care worker’s skin causing immediate contact with the drug, such as “Go immediately to the Emergency Room. Notify supervisor. Fill out a ‘Report of Occupational Injury or Illness’ form.”
  • if the drug has come in contact with the health care worker's eye, such as “CALLING FOR HELP!, flushing “the open eye(s) for at least 15 minutes” with sterile water, proceeding “immediately to the Emergency Room”.
  • if aerosolized/airborne drug or drug particles are inhaled, such as prompt medical treatment in the Emergency Room.

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