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Use of a forensic technique to identify blood contamination of emergency department and ambulance trauma equipment
  1. J B Lee1,
  2. M Levy2,
  3. A Walker1
  1. 1Pinderfields General Hospital
  2. 2The General Infirmary at Leeds, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrJ B Lee
 Pinderfields General Hospital; docjasonlee{at}


Using a Kastle-Meyer (KM) technique, the following equipment from the emergency departments of six UK hospitals (four trusts) and three regional ambulance services was tested for blood contamination: extrication (“spinal”) boards, cervical collars, straps, box splints, head blocks, and headboards. Only equipment ready for patient use was tested. Over half of trauma equipment (57%) tested positive for blood, including 15% of equipment that was visibly stained with blood. There have been no recorded cases of infection from contaminated trauma equipment but our study has identified the potential risk. Disposable covers for boards, disposable straps, and disposable radiolucent head blocks which are currently available provide a solution but have resource implications

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  • Funding: funding for the study was provided by the Faculty of Emergency Medicine Research Committee. Results presented at the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine Conference (November 2004). The researchers were independent from the funders.

  • Competing interests: none.

  • Ethics: ethical approval was not required.

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