Surgical Instrument Sterilization Crisis: Instruments That Can’t Be Autoclaved

Technologically advanced medical instruments save countless lives each year, helping millions of patients avoid the risks that come with open surgery. But the same advanced mechanisms that make these instruments so versatile and effective can also make advanced surgical instrument sterilization devilishly hard. According to a recent New York Times article, over the last several years … Continue reading “Surgical Instrument Sterilization Crisis: Instruments That Can’t Be Autoclaved”

Red-Bag Waste Autoclave Procedure

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.  Following this three-step autoclave procedure will result in reliable sterilization of “red bag” waste.  (Assuming that you aren’t running a BSL3 facility or disposing of animal carcasses.) Red Bag Waste Autoclave Procedure First things first, the DON’Ts: DON’T toss loose tips and pipettes into your biohazard … Continue reading “Red-Bag Waste Autoclave Procedure”

Research Lab Autoclave Best Practices: The Liquid Cycle Won’t Save You

Every modern research lab autoclave has a “liquid cycle”—a cycle just for processing liquids, growth media, and so on.  Nonetheless, more often than not, if you fill a bunch of 1L bottles up to 900mL and process them on the “liquid cycle” they’re going to come out like this: The glass isn’t cracked; where did … Continue reading “Research Lab Autoclave Best Practices: The Liquid Cycle Won’t Save You”

Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Sealed Bottles are Bombs

In August of 2001 a research lab autoclave was processing tightly capped 178 bottles using a 30-minute liquid load.  The autoclave began making unusual sounds, so a trio of lab workers aborted the cycle and investigated.  They opened the autoclave to discover a few bottles had burst.  There was some lost liquid and a lot … Continue reading “Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Sealed Bottles are Bombs”

Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Bad Doors and Autoclave Explosions

  WARNING: These are disturbing pictures of research lab autoclave accidents. There is blood. What happened?  A lab tech loaded an older-style autoclave, began the cycle, and walked away to attend to other tasks.  Either due to user error or wear-and-tear over time, the door locking mechanism was not fully engaged.  As the cycle progressed, … Continue reading “Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Bad Doors and Autoclave Explosions”