Te Mana Hauora O Te Tairawhiti
21 March 2013
Tairawhiti District Health chief executive, Jim Green, confirmed that human tissue from Gisborne Hospital had been discovered yesterday afternoon by workers at the city’s refuse transfer station.
“We believe this is an extremely unfortunate but isolated incident. It appears human tissue, in the form of bone fragments, was put into the wrong bag and transported to the transfer station with general rubbish, rather than disposed of in the appropriate manner.”
Mr Green said a team from the DHB joined transfer station staff for many hours last night.
“A huge amount of rubbish was searched to uncover every bag from the hospital. And a thorough search of all hospital rubbish found the tissue was confined to two bags.” The two bags appear to have come from Gisborne Hospital's operating theatres.
Mr Green said he understood that the idea that fragments of human bones were found at the transfer station would be extremely upsetting to many people. "I apologise that this has occurred, and I want to reassure the people of Tairawhiti that at no time was there any risk to public health or safety."
"I am fairly confident this is an incident where someone has made quite a simple mistake and put rubbish intended for incineration into a bag for general rubbish. Because the rubbish has gone into the wrong coloured bag, it has been taken to the wrong place for the wrong kind of disposal."
But an internal investigation to determine the exact cause of the error was already underway at Gisborne Hospital, he said.
Kathy McVey, Communications Manager
06 869-0500 or 021 223-7094
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