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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News item] Millions in unused medical supplies in U.S. operating rooms each year — ScienceDaily

Millions in unused medical supplies in U.S. operating rooms each year — ScienceDaily.

Date:
October 27, 2014
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Summary:
Surgeons urge the salvage of syringes, sutures, gauze, towels to improve care in developing countries. A new report highlights not only an opportunity for U.S. hospitals to help relieve the global burden of surgically treatable diseases, but also a means of reducing the cost and environmental impact of medical waste disposal at home, authors say.
Excerpt:

Johns Hopkins research team reports that major hospitals across the U.S. collectively throw away at least $15 million a year in unused operating room surgical supplies that could be salvaged and used to ease critical shortages, improve surgical care and boost public health in developing countries.

A report on the research, published online Oct. 16 in the World Journal of Surgery, highlights not only an opportunity for U.S. hospitals to help relieve the global burden of surgically treatable diseases, but also a means of reducing the cost and environmental impact of medical waste disposal at home.

The fact of surgical supply waste is nothing new, the researchers note, but say their investigation may be one of the first systematic attempts to measure the national extent of the problem, the potential cost savings and the impact on patients’ lives. While several organizations run donation programs for leftover operating room materials, such efforts would be far more successful if they were made standard protocol across all major surgical centers, the authors say.

“Perfectly good, entirely sterile and, above all, much-needed surgical supplies are routinely discarded in American operating rooms,”

The researchers tracked outcomes among 33 Ecuadorian patients whose surgeries were made possible as a result of the donations. Their analysis showed that donated surgical supplies prevented, on average, eight years of disability per patient.

In the study, materials topping the 19-item surgical supplies list included gauze, disposable syringes, sutures and surgical towels. However, the investigators say, it is important to tailor shipping to the specific needs of each hospital. Matching of donor leftovers to recipient need, they say, will prevent unnecessary shipping costs and avoid creating medical waste locally. In addition, the receiving hospital must have a demonstrated capability and the equipment to clean and sterilize the shipped materials before use in the operating room.

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November 3, 2014 - Posted by | health care | , ,

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