The inventor of the PSK Endo-Suction Cleaning System (ESCS), Barbara Puszko, relives her experience upon realising she may have stumbled upon an idea that might help nurses world-wide.
Barbara Puszko (left) with an early prototype of the ESCS in the clinic where it was invented
"One day, back in the late 1980’s, I had a blocked endoscope. In those days we only had one video gastroscope.
I was responsible for all the equipment, and when I saw that our only endoscope was blocked I panicked. The next day’s patient list was full, and without a usable endoscope they would all have to be cancelled.
I stayed until midnight that evening trying to push a syringe into the air/water channel till I had bruises on my hands, but to no avail. Ironically, I could see the debris in the distal end just behind the nozzle, but I could not displace it. My allergy towards gluteraldehyde, used to disinfect endoscopes was also getting worse.
Due to my hands being very sore after pushing a syringe for such a long time, I then started using an empty syringe and tried pulling the debris out from the endoscope.
After a few moments, something happened that amazed me. I aspirated the debris straight from the distal end all the way through the ‘scope and into the syringe! I realised that by using negative pressure, i.e. suction, debris aspirated from the smaller in diameter distal end, to the larger, channel entry.
I came home that night with red swollen eyes and a runny nose due to my allergy, as well very sore hands. This was a common occurrence after a days work.
Since that eventful evening, I started using a very rough version of today’s ESCS to unblock any blockages. It never failed. My colleagues in other clinics heard about this new method, and were delighted to see how well it worked, but did not have the time or opportunity to manufacture an ECSC by themselves.
These days I continue to spread the message on how to help gastroenterology nurses in their hard work - to always offer patients clean endoscopes".
Barbara Puszko is a Director and Clinical Nurse Educator at PSK Endoscopy Australia