How do Hospitals Transfer Medical Waste?
Medical waste is defined as anything infectious or potentially infectious after coming into contact with body fluids. Medical waste is a result of treatment, diagnosis, and immunizations in a hospital; hence, it is not disposed of just like any other form of trash. Strict procedures are employed in the transfer and disposal of medical waste due to its hazardous nature.
Medical Waste Disposal Methods
There are several ways in which medical waste can be disposed of, depending on the type and volume of medical waste. They include:
• Chemical disinfection
• Gas sterilization
• Thermal inactivation.
Methods for Transferring Medical Waste
To dispose of medical waste, there is a need to properly transfer them from the hospitals to the disposal location. There are two common methods that healthcare centers employ to transfer their waste.
They can hire a transport contractor to carry away their wastes to a treatment facility. Alternatively, large hospitals use their trucks to ferry medical waste, especially if they have an off-site treatment facility.
Medical waste transportation should be perfectly safe if the waste is properly secured. Also, trucks that are used to transport medical waste should not be used for any other purpose. And if it has to be repurposed, then it must be well disinfected.
According to the United Nations regulations, vehicles carrying more than 333 Kg of biohazardous waste (UN3291) need to be labeled at the back by a sign no less than 25 by 25 cm.
Medical Waste Tracking
The UN requires that the location of the waste must be tracked at all times during transport. The proper documentation for this is called the consignment note. The truck driver should fill out the consignment note and then send it back to the hospital of origin.
A consignment note has the following information:
• Source and type of waste
• Quantity of waste
• Number of containers
All hospitals are required by the law to safely take care of their medical waste, right from transportation to disposal. Most modern hospitals sort their waste before being transferred to treatment facilities. This way, the risk posed by medical waste is severely reduced.