Circulation 36,825 • Volume 17, No. 2 • Summer 2002

Modifications Recommended for Locked Carts

Ron Snelling, RRT, CerATT

To the Editor

I would like to respond to Daniel Yousif’s comments made in the winter 2001-2002 APSF Newsletter regarding the potential hazards of locked anesthesia carts.

Our institution initiated a (perhaps the same) locking anesthesia cart system almost 2 years ago. This system was implemented in our department for the same reasons, JCAHO and pharmacy narcotic control/wastage issues. As with any new technology that may affect clinical practice, I heard many of the same concerns from anesthesiologists and CRNAs: What will be the impact of this system on the hospital’s fiscal plan, and, more importantly, how will it address issues of patient safety, such as allowing retrieval of needed supplies and drugs from a malfunctioning cart?

While there is a learning curve associated with implementing these systems, I believe the negative impact can be reduced. Our department made several modifications to our locking cart system including disengaging drawers not containing drugs and setting up back-up boxes in case of an emergency.

It is not my intention to defend the locked cart system, merely to offer alternative ways to use it to our best advantage.

Ron Snelling, RRT, CerATT
Denver, CO