Top 5 Reasons You Should Invest In A Single-Handed Scalpel Blade Remover
You are the scrub nurse in the operating room for an open cholecystecomy to remove the gallstones causing the patients pain. The surgery went well, and the surgeon leaves the used scalpel blades in the passing tray after procedures because this is the right thing to do. There is no scalpel blade remover.
It is now your duty to count all the instruments and tools, and inform the surgeon of the count to make sure nothing is left inside the patient. You now need to remove the blades from the handles to enable the correct disposal these blades according to the hospital’s standard procedures for hazardous waste.
However, you stare at the bloody and sticky scalpel blades lying in the sharps tray, and shudder at the thought that you will need to pick these scalpels up for counting and removal from the handle.
And you are understandably worried by the chance of getting a scalpel cut when removing the scalpel blade from the handle – these blades are sometimes stuck and almost always slippery.
You think there must be a better way to remove these sharp, used and potentially infectious scalpel blades than a pair of old artery forceps, or worse still, than with your own fingers.
If this sounds like your inner voice giving you good advice, then you have a strong case to urge your bosses to investment in a safety-engineered single-handed scalpel blade remover. Here are the top 5 reason why you (or the hospital you work for) should change your current slow, dangerous practices and invest in a single-handed scalpel blade remover.
1. You think it is too slow to remove blades after surgery/ procedure with forceps
Throughout your 4 years of nursing education, you were taught to remove scalpel blades with a pair of forceps. But forceps are fiddly to use and every now and then the forceps slip. “What a big waste of time”, you mumble, roll your eyes and let go a big sigh.
2. You think it is too slow to count blades after surgery/ procedure, and you hate the mess in the passing tray
But your duties do not stop here. After safely removing the blades from the handles, the exposed blades lay on each other in the sharps tray, covered in blood, bodily fluid, and whatnot. You hate the mess in that bloody tray (pun intended).
Now, you must pick them up for counting and disposal with artery forceps or your fingers. As the blades are covered with blood, they are sticky and difficult to be separated from each other, which takes more time to complete the count after the surgery is finished.
If the tray drops and you have the pick the exposed blades up from the floor…
3. You know it is not safe for yourselves and your colleagues without a scalpel blade remover
Removing scalpel blades with a pair of forceps, or using your fingers, is not safe. They increase your chances of getting a scalpel cut, and sustaining blood borne injuries such as HIV, Hep B and C. Worse, if you put excessive force in removing the blade with forceps, the blade might slip and flings past your normal range of movement, and stab your colleague standing next to you.
4. You are using a two-handed blade remover
Many blade removers in the market require two-handed operation, where you must hold the blade remover in one hand, and perform a re-sheathing type of action to remove the blade with the other hand.
On the surface, it might look like it is safer to use these two-handed blade removers as they keep your hands out of way. But in fact, the re-sheathing type of action can put you at greater risk of cutting yourselves, as you can miss the entry point to the blade remover and directly cut your other hand.
5. You know it is not legal
Removing scalpel blades from scalpel handles using forceps, fingers or two-handed blade removers violate the OSHA regulations for sharps prevention, which is now equivalent to the Australian and New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS 3825:1998), procedures and devices for the removal and disposal of scalpel blades from scalpel handles. OSHA penalties can be as high as $12,675 per violation, and $126,749 per repeated violation.
These are just the top 5 common reasons you should invest in a single-handed scalpel blade remover, like the Qlicksmart’s scalpel blade removers range. However, the fact you finish reading this blog post is another sign you need a change in practice to protect yourself, and your colleagues, from unnecessary scalpel injuries. Furthermore, a small investment can make your job much easier and enjoyable, and can potentially save your life and a big fortune.