Reusing medical supplies

  1. What do you think of doctor's offices that reuse medical supplies? I am not talking about things that are sterilized and standard to be reused. Here are two examples.

    One, I worked as a CMA for a family practice doctor and he had us reuse the ear pieces for the otoscopes (not sure of the right word for what I am looking for). He would have us clean them with alcohol and reuse them. Personally I thought that was really cheap and not very sanitary.

    Then second example, my OBs office sent me home the first visit with a sterile urine cup. Well I bring it in and they rinse it out and wipe it dry with a paper towel and hand it back to me for next visit. I also found that very cheap and unsanitary. I mean if they are that low on money buy the dixie cups instead of using sterile cups and have the patients give urine in the office (which all my previous doctors have done). Needless to say I didn't come back with the cup for the next visit.

    Anyhow, wondering what your thoughts are on this. How common is this? Am I wrong to think this is really unsanitary?
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  2. 54 Comments

  3. by   JohnnyGage
    First of all, it's not that common that I'm aware of.

    Second, ***** Do they realize how risky it is (legally) to reuse things like otoscope covers?? And how about the now "sterile" specimen container?

    Frankly, not only would I have not re-used the urine cup, but I wouldn't have re-used the doctor.
  4. by   tony summers
    We regularly reuse otoscope covers after they have been cleaned and soaked in a antiseptic solution.
    As for reusing urine pots that is alot more risky and something that we do not do.
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I second Johnny: ***** how disgusting.
  6. by   sjoe
    Once again, just when I thought I had heard everything...

    Questions:

    Just WHO is benefitting financially from this kind of stuff?

    And just WHO is putting in the extra labor to bring about this tiny benefit?

    Whose health does it endanger?

    Who pays for the inaccurate urine labs that might result, and the inappropriate treatment--or lack thereof--that might in turn result from these potentially inaccurate lab results?

    Whose license is at risk for providing patients with KNOWN non-sterile containers or who knowingly replaces sterile probes with non-sterile ones? Who will stand behind and support that person when patients develop ear infections and or UTIs?
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 30, '02
  7. by   deespoohbear
    Where is the puking smilie when you need him? ( I really need to learn how to do that!!).

    Not only is that disgusting, I bet it is illegal...start with the State Board of Health.....I am sure they would be impressed.....

    I also would be looking for a new doc and would inform him/her of why I was seeking medical care elsewhere....no telling what else this office is reusing.....(puking smilie here)....
  8. by   MishlB
    I doubt that reusing an earpice after cold sterilization is that much of a health risk. Don't you all eat out at restaurants?? Think about the silverware!??? That's only washed (we hope) in soap and water.
    RELAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And for the urine cup...it was the same patient, not a different one, and probably for dipstick testing, not a sterile sample.
  9. by   PennyLane
    Originally posted by MishlB
    Don't you all eat out at restaurants?? Think about the silverware!??? That's only washed (we hope) in soap and water.
    RELAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yes, but healthcare is "supposed" to be held to higher standards than the Chili's down the street.
  10. by   dawngloves
    Theresa, I hope you found a new OB! Blech!
  11. by   MishlB
    Originally posted by Mel D
    Yes, but healthcare is "supposed" to be held to higher standards than the Chili's down the street.
    Yes, however....worked in dentistry for 12 years, and they 'reuse' many items after digging in bloody gums. They are sterilized and reused day after day after day. Surgical instruments too are 'reused'.
    Nobody gets their panties in a bunch about that do they?...and they also fall under same infection control guidelines as hospitals. Does someone really need to switch OB's because they had to use the same cup to pee in?????????????
  12. by   MishlB
    Originally posted by sjoe
    Once again, just when I thought I had heard everything...

    Questions:

    Just WHO is benefitting financially from this kind of stuff?

    And just WHO is putting in the extra labor to bring about this tiny benefit?

    Whose health does it endanger?

    Who pays for the inaccurate urine labs that might result, and the inappropriate treatment--or lack thereof--that might in turn result from these potentially inaccurate lab results?

    Whose license is at risk for providing patients with KNOWN non-sterile containers or who knowingly replaces sterile probes with non-sterile ones? Who will stand behind and support that person when patients develop ear infections and or UTIs?

    It's not a conspiracy!!!!!! ("How can we make billions of dollars? Hmmmmmm...make them pee in the same cup over and over!! And stick those otoscope covers in as many ears as possible! We'll show them!!!!! They will become infected and we can treat them unnecessarily! Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!!!!!!!!)
    And I don't think the little ear covers for the otoscope are STERILE!! They are all sitting in a big box, with fingers all over them each time you reach for one.
    As far as the inaccurate lab results...how is someone going to get a UTI from peeing in a cup????
  13. by   tonchitoRN
    overreacting.
  14. by   hapeewendy
    I dont know , maybe I'm a germaphobe but that bothers me too ......
    that and the fact that if I went to the drs the least they could do would be to give me a new urine bottle to pee in each time , come on , thats small potatoes...
    gives a whole new meaning to the term , pot to piss in doesnt it?
    I find that more cheapass than anything, I'm prudent and what have you but Come on already..

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