A doctor in New Jersey has had his medical license temporarily suspended over allegations that he reused disposable catheters on multiple patients.
One-Use Anal Catheters
Colon and rectal surgeon Sanjiv Patankar allegedly washed and reused catheters that are inserted into patients' rectum during medical procedures. The instruments, which are used to examine patients with fecal incontinence, constipation, and other possible disorders, are supposed to be thrown away after a single use.
Patankar, who practiced in East Brunswick, allegedly instructed medical assistants to wash the instruments in soapy water after use, soak them in bleach solutions, and then rinse before air-drying them. The doctor also reportedly ordered to continue using a catheter that has started to break down due to overbleaching.
In a hearing conducted Dec. 19, the state said that documented evidence appears to show that between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, Patankar's office performed 82 procedures but only five catheters were used over that period.
Lack Of Judgement Placed Patients In Danger
After hearing the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the state Board of Medical Examiners declared that the doctor's reuse of the catheters showed a lack of judgment. He also placed his patients in danger.
"Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that a Committee of the State Board of Medical Examiners ("the Committee") has temporarily suspended the license of a Middlesex surgeon amid allegations he jeopardized his patients' health and safety by reusing single-use catheters on multiple patients during anorectal diagnostic testing.," the office of the Attorney General said in a statement.
Risks Of Reusing Disposable Medical Instruments
Reusing certain medical instruments can pose threats to patients. Using the anal catheter multiple times, for instance, may put patients at risk of contracting a disease. Unfortunately, there have been instances of healthcare professionals reusing supposedly one-use medical devices.
In 2015, a contractor nurse that Nebraska-based TotalWellness hired to administer flu vaccines to employees of Otsuka Pharmaceutical failed to change the syringes after each shot. The 67 employees affected by the malpractice were recommended to be tested for hepatitis B, C, and HIV due to the improper use of the syringes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention said that reusing syringes may pose infection risk regardless if the needles were not reused, just as what happened in that particular case.
"Reuse of syringes for multiple patients, with or without reuse of needles, is recognized as a serious infection control breach that poses risks for bloodborne pathogen transmission," the CDC said.