vials.300The Joint Commission has released a Sentinel Event Alert aimed at educating healthcare providers about the risks associated with the misuse of vials of injectable medical products.

According to an article published in the Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare newsletter, thousands of patients have been harmed upon receiving routine injections in hospital settings and in physician’s offices. Misuse of these vials has caused patients to contract bloodborne pathogens and associated infections, including hepatitis B and C virus, meningitis, and epidural abscesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 49 disease outbreaks have occurred since 2001 as the result of mishandling of injectable medical products. The majority of these types of adverse events have been tied to the reuse of single-dose vials, which usually lack preservatives and are therefore more susceptible to bacterial contamination and infection.

To download TJC’s Sentinel Event Alert #52: Preventing Infection from the Misuse of Vials and read the requirements relevant to the safe use of such vials, click here.