By STACEY WOOD
The Dominion Post
Ten years of hospital records have been lost in what Capital & Coast District Health Board admits is an embarrassing fault.
The board said yesterday that it could not guarantee the standard of the 16,000 tetanus shots administered in Wellington Hospital’s emergency department in the past decade.
The health board’s medicine, cancer and community executive director, Andrew Simpson, said a thermostat fault had been detected in the fridge where the medicine was stored, meaning it could have been kept at unsafe temperatures. Tetanus vaccines lose potency if stored outside the range of two to eight degrees Celsius, especially if temperatures fall below zero.
The fault was detected in April but it was not known how long it had existed, Dr Simpson said.
The system should have alerted staff, but a staff member noticed in April that the fridge was below freezing and no alert had been raised.