Seeing for ourselves how safety is engineered into medical injections

January 20, 2014

Evelyn McKnight and Lauren Lollini

BD hosted HONOReform and reporter Matthew Hanson for a plant tour

BD hosted HONOReform and reporter Matthew Hansen for a plant tour

What a great way to end the week!

Steve Langan and Matthew Hansen, features writer for the Omaha World-Herald, picked me up at my house on Friday morning, and we drove to a meeting at the BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.) plant in Columbus. It’s one of two BD plants in Columbus. There are two others in the state, one in Broken Bow and another in Holdrege.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, a longtime supporter of injection safety whose district now also includes the Columbus area, was at the meeting. He met with our BD colleagues and the HONOReform team, and then he led a town hall meeting for BD employees.

I value Congressman Fortenberry’s straightforward, genuine approach to governing. And I appreciate how curious he and his staff remain about the issues that confront HONOReform, particularly ways we can all work together to prevent healthcare associated infection.

Fortenberry shared a couple incidents from his past that involved injection safety. He reminded me, yet again, that we are all patients, or will be, at one time or another. Safeguarding the medical injection process, from manufacturing through disposal, is essential, as an important way to help keep people healthy.

After the town hall meeting, Steve and Matthew and I took a tour of one of the BD plants. I have always been impressed with BD’s corporate culture. We have gotten to know many of the good people of BD over the years. We serve together on coalitions, including the Safe Injection Practices Coaltion and the Alliance for Injection Safety; together, we have gotten a lot of good work done.

My admiration of BD deepened, as I took the tour. Their strict attention to quality control and “purity” impresses me. Being in the plant where pre-filled IV flushes are assembled and shipped gave me hope. Because, you see, if these pre-filled flushes would have been part of my care, back in 2001, I would not have been infected with hepatitis C. Same goes for the 98 others who were infected.

What an irony. The largest plant in the world for pre-filled saline flush manufacturing is less than 50 miles from where the largest outbreak of hepatitis C in the United States occurred.

It was a great day. We are dedicated to having errors engineered out of the medical injection process…and we had the opportunity to see, first-hand, an extraordinary manufacturing facility with great leadership and dedicated employees. Having industry involved in our work is essential.

Our work began in earnest on Capitol Hill in 2007. And has spread to work in state legislatures. Changing public policy—sometimes, as Congressman Fortenberry said, an inch at a time—is an important part of our work.

And Matthew Hansen being beside us reminds me that we must continue to commit to working with media partners to work toward needed changes. And, in this case, to take a minute and celebrate the commitment of our dedicated friends and partners.

On behalf of HONOReform, I thank you all.

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