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Coded Syringes

March 25, 1985

Working together, hospitals and their suppliers could help prevent tragedies, like those reported recently, by developing a system for shape and color-coding all containers and syringes for injectable fluids; e.g., round red containers and syringes for intravenous injectables, square blue containers and syringes for spinal injectables, hexagonal yellow containers and syringes for intramuscular injectables, etc.

If hospitals allow similar containers and syringes to hold fluids that are therapeutic in one application but harmful in others, patients will continue to be maimed and killed, as labels are misapplied or misread by overworked or overconfident personnel under the complex, stressful and exhausting circumstances of hospital work.

WALTER R. STEVENS

San Diego

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