Medical instruments or devices that come in contact with patients’ secretions are usually for single use only, to prevent contamination and spread of disease. Anal catheters, for instance, should only be used once.
A doctor based in East Brunswick, New Jersey, however, is now being accused of reusing disposable one-use anal catheters on many of his patients. Dr. Sanjiv K. Patankar, a colorectal surgeon, had his medical license suspended for placing his patients in imminent danger.
He reused anal catheters on dozens of patients.
Anal catheters are tubes that are inserted into a patient’s rectum to obtain fecal samples or inject fluids.
Hence, these catheters can get really messy. That’s why they recommended for single-use only.
During the case’s hearing, evidence showed that the doctor performed 82 procedures between the period of January 1 and November 30, 2017. However, during this period only five catheters were ordered.
It was reported that the doctor and his staff have washed the catheters between use, instead of disposing of them after each procedure.
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a statement:
“It is appalling that a doctor would engage in such an unsanitary and dangerous practice.”
“Through his alleged conduct, Dr. Patankar has demonstrated a reckless disregard for public safety that placed countless patients at risk of communicable diseases.”
The doctor ordered the staff to wash the tubes after use.
According to his medical staff, Dr. Patankar told them to wash and clean the catheters to be used for future patients. They were told to wash the catheters with soap and water then soak them in bleach for about 30 minutes. After which, they rinse the rubes again and placed inside their original packaging. This was despite the fact that the packages clearly said “Do not reuse”.
The single-use and disposable anal catheters just cost about $0.25 each. These devices are used to flush a patient’s colon with saline solution or obtain stool samples to test for certain abnormalities. The test, which is called anorectal manometries, are done to assess the patients for constipation or lack of bowel control.
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