Officer discovers surgical waste in middle of roadway - WKRN News 2

Officer discovers surgical waste in middle of roadway

Posted: Updated: Nov 26, 2013 08:06 PM

Authorities are continuing to investigate who may have purposely dumped or accidentally lost a load of surgical waste in the middle of a busy roadway Tuesday morning.

The torn, open bags filled with syringes, IV bags, gauze and some bloody blue table coverings were discovered by a Metro officer around 7 a.m. at the corner of Charlotte Pike and Arena Avenue.

Nashville's News 2 Investigates showed video of the waste to some sources at local hospitals.  They said the debris is definitely surgical waste and could be contaminated with a number of bio hazards.

The surgical waste has not been attached to a facility or carrier, which means taxpayers paid for Tuesday's cleanup.

George Allen, a compliance inspector with Metro HazMat special ops was among those who responded to the scene, which he called a "code three priority."

"When I saw this, IV packs and blood, I wasn't concerned about what it could be. I treat it like it is the worst. I protect myself like it is AIDS, or Hepatitis. I don't treat it like what it could be. I treat it like it is the worst so that way I can go home to my family."

According to Allen, there are multiple surgical outlets in the area where the waste was found and he looked for identifying marks on the bags, but so far, he has found few clues on where it may have originated.

Nashville's News 2 Investigates took the issue to the Metro Public Health Department where Director of Environmental Services Brent Hager echoed Allen on the potential danger of the waste.

"If someone mishandled this, they could stand the potential for getting infected themselves," he said. "Ultimately the generator of the waste, whomever that came from, has the ultimate responsibility to make sure that it is properly handled until its proper destination."

Allen added, "I just want to say to the carrier, when you go through your inventory, and you know you left with three bags and you turn in two, I think you owe it to the community, you owe it to people's kids, you owe it to the tax payers, because we got to eat a bill that you got paid for that we pay for twice."

Anyone who saw a truck dragging or dumping a medical waste bag Tuesday morning is urged to call the Metro Health Department at 615-862-7907 or the Public Works Department at 615-862-8700.

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