Hospitals are reusing one-time-use products. “The Food and Drug Administration regulates the practice, and many hospital administrators say reusing single-use devices is not only cost-effective but also promotes healthy competition with device makers and poses no threat to patients because the instruments are cleaned with such care that they are as good as new.”

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  • Anonymous

    How can a patient protect himself from this practice? I refused a procedure about a year ago because I could not get reassurance that I would get “virgin” equipment instead of “reconditioned”, and the hospital in question had recetnly been cited for improper sterilization procedures for the same device.

  • gasman

    Many devices are built such that they should be able to be utilized more than once. The (really) old guy’s in my anesthesia department tell of the days when they had to resharpen their own spinal needles prior to resterilizing them. As a medical student on an anesthesia rotation in 1990 I was responsible for cleaning the esophageal stethoscopes and black rubber breathing circuits that I would use the next day.

    Manufactuers have an obveous incentive to seek FDA labeling for their devices to limit them to single use. This creates huge costs, enormous landfill waste, and generous profits for manufacturers.
    Hospital administrators often do not mind single use because they charge a markup on each item ‘sold’ to the patient, plus they don’t have to have the skilled staff and expensive sterilizing equipment to handle all reusables.

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