Archive January 2014 XV, No. 1

Evaluating Your Fluid Management Options

How are you collecting fluid waste in the wake of the Stryker Neptune recall?

David Bernard, Senior Associate Editor


The Gadsden (Ala.) Surgery Center was among the many super-satisfied Stryker Neptune customers who were forced to at least consider abandoning their waste management system and transitioning to another method of collecting and disposing of fluid waste. In 2012, the FDA recalled the popular Stryker Neptune after patient injuries and at least 2 deaths were reported when nurses mistakenly applied high-flow, high-suction vacuums to passive chest drains. The 2-part recall was confusing and injuries associated with the use of the Neptune were the result of bizarre user error, but when the dust had settled, Neptune owners could either switch to another fluid waste management machine or jump through some administrative hoops if they wanted to continue using the recalled Neptunes (see "Not Your Typical Recall" on page 46).

Gadsen Surgery Center Administrator Harriet Willoughby, BSN, whose 6 Neptunes were in constant use inside her 4 ORs and 2 GI rooms, felt she owed it to her staff — and her curiosity about other fluid management options — to trial another system. She arranged for a closed, direct-to-drain system to be placed in 1 of the ORs for 30 days of surgeries that included a full slate of high-fluid orthopedic cases. The system performed admirably, says Ms. Willoughby. "It was a very good system, it worked fine for the staff," she says.

But Gadsen decided to stick with the Neptune, as well as the regulatory paperwork required for its continued use. Why? In a word: mobility. The trialed system needs to plug into wall suction to operate, and this limits where it can go in the OR. "My staff has gotten so used to the Neptune's mobility if they needed to pull it around to the other side of the table or across the room," says Ms. Willougby, a 10-year Neptune customer. "It was easier to manipulate." While surgical staffers tried connecting extension tubes to the trialed system to extend its reach, in the end, Ms. Willoughby says, there's just no substitute for untethered mobility.

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