With Valentine's Day approaching, some might mistake the new "One and Only" campaign by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an effort to limit romantic partners.
Instead, the effort is aimed at convincing hospitals to use certain medical devices one time and only one time. By the CDC's estimate, more than 100,000 patients at American hospitals over the past decade have been exposed to potentially lethal infections such as HIV and hepatitis when hospital reused medical devices such as syringes or vials of medications.
As part of its new campaign, the CDC urges hospitals to take a more careful approach to injections: "one needle, one syringe, only one time."
While it might seem like the safest, best way to dispense injections, not everyone agrees. Some "green" advocates argue that the 7,000 tons of medical waste per day (2.5 million tons per year) is an enormous health problem made bigger by disposable medical devices.
Though the "green" advocates aren't suggesting that needles be reused, they are pushing recycling of medical devices so that landfills aren't overflowing with dangerous medical waste and poorer nations aren't paid to offload barges filled with toxic U.S. medical trash.
While many medical devices are safely reused after going through thorough resterilization procedures, some medical waste recyclers are pushing to put certain surgical instruments back into use after similar cleanings.
Everyone hopes to avoid problems similar to those in a recent investigation of the potential spreading of hepatitis and HIV by U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals allegedly using improperly sanitized endoscopes.
Anyone injured by an improperly cleaned or defective medical device should contact a law firm with a record of holding accountable those responsible for doing harm.
Source: The Daily Beast, "Why Green Hospital Practices Could Make You Sick," Kent Sepkowitz, Jan. 14, 2013
- Our Charleston law firm represents clients across the state of West Virginia in cases involving defective medical devices.