Blood samples, used syringes pile up at station

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iol pic sa nt Metro 1.jpg INLSA A discarded blood sample lies among used syringes that have been piling up at the metro police station for almost a year.

Boxes of syringes used to draw blood from suspected drunk drivers at roadblocks, as well as the blood samples, have been piling up at a metro police station for almost a year.

Officers at Boscombe Terrace Station say they are working in hazardous conditions and questioned why the proper processes in discarding the needles and blood samples are not being followed.

According to an email dated January 19, sent by the acting captain of the roadblock unit, Patrick Thabatile, to several high-ranking metro police officers, the situation has been going on for months.

An officer who would not be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media said blood samples in the bags of rubbish were worrying.

“When a sample is taken, the number on the vial matches a number on a blood sample box. The sample must go into the box and the number must be written on a docket. Then it must be checked into evidence.

“If the sample is with all these used needles, then where is the blood sample box and the relevant paperwork to clarify why the sample was spoiled?

“It seems as though officers are throwing away samples without following procedure, maybe for a bribe.”

Another officer said that the situation was creating an unsafe work environment.

“A medical company should be collecting these needles and incinerating them. They can’t just be lying around like this. It’s a serious safety hazard for the officers who work at this station and if anything happened to one of them, the city would be liable.”

Superintendent Sibonelo Mchunu, the acting spokesman for metro police, said the matter is being investigated by operational commanders.

Asked about the standard operating procedure, Mchunu explained the proper procedure for blood tests.

“First we secure them and take them to the SAPS. If they are spoiled they are kept separately from used syringes.

“It’s not a rule, but we don’t store them together. Then the officer must fill out paperwork to detail why the sample was spoiled and write the report in the occurrence book at the station.

“We can’t speculate on what happened until the investigation is complete.

“It will focus on why these procedures were not being followed… We need to look at this,” said Mchunu.

- Sunday Tribune

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