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Use of a forensic technique to identify blood contamination of emergency department and ambulance trauma equipment


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

  • DoH, Department of Health
  • Kastle-Meyer
  • blood contaminition
  • equipment
  • infection risk
  • trauma

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    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and the British Association for Accident & Emergency Medicine