Dr. Daryoush Tavanaiepour Interim Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, Medical Director, Skull Based Surgery, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Florida
Patients should be aware of a medical practice that has become dangerously common during the last few years. Disposable medical instruments are being reused by hospitals even though manufacturers insist that these devices should be used once and then thrown away. So, why do some hospitals reprocess single-use instruments? Their answer is simple. They claim it saves them money. Why use a disposable pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord on only one newborn child, when it’s better to reprocess them and use them on two newborns? The full price they paid for a single pair of scissors gets cut by 50% when utilizing this practice.
The prevention and reduction of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is a top priority in hospitals, surgery centers, and physician’s offices today. Increased vigilance toward instrument reprocessing procedures and improved personnel efficiency enhances both patient outcomes and lowers costs.
This calls to attention the “human factors” involved in cleaning and sterilizing of surgical instruments. It has also created the necessity for well trained and competent staff in the reprocessing areas, to reassess and improve upon current best practices.
Sterile processing procedures that need to be reevaluated immediately include: