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Clinic waste contaminates garbage man

If you’ve ever gagged at having to swallow your pride at work, be thankful that medical waste was not also on the menu.

A story from “down under” graphically illustrates for healthcare facilities the importance of proper disposal of regulated medical and pharmaceutical waste.

An Australian garbage collector, Barton Wallis, was granted permission to begin legal proceedings by the Brisbane District Court against the Haematology and Oncology Clinics of Australasia, reports the Herald Sun [1] (Melbourne), February 17.

Wallis says that when manually dumping a waste bin into a garbage truck outside a hematology-oncology clinic up to two litres of medical waste—including blood, human biopsies and chemotherapy chemicals—spilled over him. During the spill Wallis swallowed a portion of this waste before vomiting, and has since suffered poisoning, loss of taste, increased mouth sensitivity, depression, anxiety, and mood swings, according to his suit against the clinic for improperly securing its waste.

The court files did not disclose the amount Wallis is seeking, reported the Herald Sun.

This shows that it is not just your employees who can be exposed to hazardous waste from your facility. And with sloppy waste disposal practices, your practice or clinic can wind up with, if not human biopsies, at least egg on its face.

To assess your facility’s compliance with U.S. and state regulated medical waste laws, download the Regulated Medical Waste Disposal Checklist from the Tools page. [2]