Posted: February 3, 2014
Source: The Gazette, Iowa City
Feb. 02 IOWA CITY
When a patient emerges from anesthesia after surgery, his nurse wants to make sure he doesn’t feel pain.
She gets a 1 milliliter syringe of hydromorphone, a generic form of Dilaudid, from a secure drug cabinet. She plans to give her patient .2 milliliter. Even patients with open hysterectomies some of the most painful procedures need just .4 milliliter.
She squirts the rest of the drug down the drain, where it can’t be abused by addicts but can pollute drinking water.
UI nurses disposed of an average 70 percent of each of 47,000 hydromorphone 1 milliliter syringes with waste in fiscal 2013.
Portions of nearly 250,000 doses of prescription medication were flushed down the drain or returned to the UI Hospitals and Clinics pharmacy to be wasted in the past two years, despite U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines against flushing drugs.