In a shocking case of corruption and medical negligence, authorities at Kashmir’s premier healthcare institute, SKIMS Soura were allegedly found selling expired surgical equipment and consumables.
While gullible and distressed patients continued using expired equipment risking their lives, the apathy of authorities came to light after a doctor complained about the sale of expired and substandard consumable at SKIMS Drug Counter.
Official sources told Rising Kashmir that surgical equipment and consumables like Endoscopy Band, Platelet Theresis Set, and Prolene Mesh are being sold way beyond their expiry date in the J&K premier medical institute.
“Hundreds of surgical equipment and consumables procured by SKIMS for use in emergency and corrective surgeries have either expired or are at the verge of expiry as the same were not used at the time they were needed in the hospital. And the hospital administration has asked Chief Pharmacist to sell the stock to people after re-sterilization,” said a doctor, wishing anonymity.
He said the expired consumables are being used in the Gastroenterology Ward, General Medicine, and Oncology Departments.
“The expired stock is being re-sterilized and re-labeled and put on sale at the drug counter,” doctor said.
As per insiders, the issue came to fore after a Gastroenterologist filed a complaint with the Director SKIMS Dr Showkat A Zargar asking him to enquire into the matter.
“A patient has developed complications after an expired ‘VU MAX Band’ was used during his endoscopy. Soon after the incident doctors in Gastroenterology raised the issue with Director, who later ordered an internal enquiry by a two-member expert committee,” said an official.
He said the band is used in Gastroenterology in Endoscopy which has been sold at SKIMS Drug Counter after being re-sterilized using Ethylene Tri-oxide (ETO) Chamber in CSSD department.
“The expired stock is being sold in connivance with the dealers who pay huge money to officials for selling their product,” official said.
“In the first place, the practice is totally unethical and criminal as ETO can only give assurance for killing microbial growth, not for the material itself from which it is used. The polymer from which it is used has undergone degradation which has affected the tensile strength or function of the medical device. Even sometimes the polymer chain gets affected which can affect the efficacy thereby putting the life of gullible patients at risk,” he explained.
He cautioned that the ETO treatment results in residues on devices which can cause anaphylactic shocks in dialysis patients and are Mutagenic and Carcinogenic.
Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Dr Farooq A Jan told Rising Kashmir that the enquiry would take few more days to complete. However, he admitted a doctor had complained about the use of ‘recycled’ and ‘re-sterilized’ VU Max Band.
“The enquiry is yet to be finalized so I won’t be able to share the outcome,” he said.