As a dedicated registered nurse, I will try with all my might and skill not to give you a disease that will be discussed with acronyms that begin with the letters HA. This means hospital or health care acquired. I will wash my hands when I enter AND when I leave your room. I will wear a little yellow gown, gloves and sometimes a mask when caring for you if you happen to have an infectious disease (I don't want to give it to your neighbor in the next room and I don't want it either). I will keep your skin clean and dry and turn you faithfully in an effort to prevent HA skin breakdown. I will check and double check the medications I hang or give you in an effort to avoid preventable errors. I will clean your mouth and brush your teeth to prevent HAP. Hospital Acquired Pneumonia. I will faithfully meet all safety standards to prevent VAP. Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia. I'll do these things because truly, I wish to do no harm to anyone in my care.
How about the drug companies? Will they pitch in to prevent these serious, sometimes fatal diseases? Will they bring drug manufacturing back to our country in an attempt to stop bacterial and contamination issues associated with products manufactured in China? Call me pessimistic, I don't think so, I think greed will win out. If you are in this industry, you surely know what I'm talking about. If you aren't in the health care business, you may not know, but you should.
Once again, China is in the headlines for their shoddy manufacturing processes. Think again if you believe this doesn't effect you because you don't have a dog with contaminated feed or a child with lead in their toys. These events were the tip of the iceberg.
Say you wake up early Monday morning and without warning, you are nauseated, sweating, your jaw hurts, your left arm is throbbing and there is an elephant sitting on your chest. After you get over your initial shock that you're on your way to meet your maker, you do what you've been taught and call 911, then take an aspirin and start praying. Emergency services come, put you on O2, give you some nitroglycerin, throw in an IV, draw your labs, take an EKG and transport you to the nearest ER. In the ER, we run your lab work and diagnose your AMI-Acute Myocardial Infarction. We bolus you with a product made in China. Heparin. And start the heparin drip. We give you clot busters and other medications then get your fanny to the Cath Lab in an incredible hurry to continue our life saving efforts. Your heart works fine now but unfortunately you develop "complications." You went in for treatment of an AMI and now have developed CASE. A Chinese Acquired Serious Event.
The cluster of symptoms of heparin associated CASE may be hard to pinpoint if you happen to have the AMI I mentioned above. It wouldn't be out of the realm for you to develop shock from your cardiac event. Here are the symptoms of heparin associated CASE: difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, rapidly falling blood pressure and life threatening shock. If I were your caregiver, I wouldn't be thinking heparin. I'd be thinking
It's become apparent that our heparin supply is contaminated. There was a cluster of outbreaks of bacterial infections in Chicago late last fall associated with heparin flush prefilled syringes. These syringes were recalled but over 100 people became seriously ill. Baxter recalled their 5,000 unit heparin vials due to contamination of crude heparin-made in China. A German manufacturer is having issues with contaminated products as well. The latest reports that have been released indicate a "filler" that is not supposed to be in heparin is causing the allergic type reactions that have led to shock. Of course, our leaders stop short of saying this type of activity is non-accidental; we wouldn't want to disrupt our commerce with China. How many passes do we give their manufacturers before we say enough? This is dangerous to our population and a blow to treatment protocols for multiple life threatening illnesses that include heparin as a standard of care.