Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 28, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:56 am

Chua: Operation theatres shut down for cleaning

KUALA LUMPUR: All operation theatres in public and private hospitals are shut down from time to time for cleaning and disinfections if the level of germs and fungus exceed the permissible level, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said.

He said they would be shut down only for a day or two for this purpose.

As such, he said he did not see why the Alor Star Hospital director Dr Juita Ghazali had to announce the cleaning and disinfections for two of the seven theatres in the hospital as highlighted by a few major newspapers yesterday.

“The reports were confusing and these can trigger panic reaction,” he said, describing such reports as irresponsible.

Speaking to reporters in Wisma MCA after the party’s central committee meeting here yesterday, Dr Chua said he had directed his ministry’s secretary-general to investigate the matter.

In Alor Star, Dr Juita said there was no need to close two operating theatres at the hospital here as the fungal spores found in the rooms were not dangerous.

“It is a saprophytic type of fungus and would not cause any infection. The two theatres are now operating normally.”

Dr Juita revealed that the spores were found after air sampling on Saturday.

She said the hospital began air sampling at its first, second and third operating theatres on Oct 16, adding that the three theatres were found to be free from any fungus or bacteria.

“The second test, at theatre four, five and six, was conducted on Saturday morning. The results, which we get on Sunday, showed the presence of fungal spores in theatre four and six.”

Dr Juita said the hospital’s specialists and administrator concluded at a meeting yesterday that the fungus was not dangerous and all surgeries would be conducted as scheduled.

She said a sample of the fungal culture was sent to the Health Ministry for type verification.

The hospital is now conducting a thorough cleaning of the two theatres, including doctors’ surgical boots. Another air sampling of the two theatres would be carried out on Oct 30.

Dr Juita said the spores could have been brought to the theatres by various people, including nurses and doctors undergoing training there.

She added that another possibility could be the change of the vinyl flooring in one of the two affected theatres last week.

Dr Juita said the hospital initiated the air sampling after reading about the fungal outbreak at the Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor Baru on Sept 26.

She also denied that the hospital’s centralised air conditioning system caused the problem as each theatre had its own filter, which was changed every six months.

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