Nearly one-fourth of all U.S. hospitals are reprocessing and reusing single-use devices, according to a telephone survey conducted by the Food and Drug Administration. Large hospitals are more likely to be reusing the devices originally intended for single use: 45% of hospitals with more than 250 beds are reprocessing, compared with 12% of hospitals with fewer than 50 beds. Of all the hospitals reusing single-use devices, 84% farm the chore out to third-party reprocessors, the survey found. The most commonly reused devices are sequential compression device sleeves (15.8%) and the next most commonly reused devices are drill bits, saws, blades or burrs (7.3%.) The FDA conducted the survey from December 2001 to February 2002 to get a better handle on the extent of the practice within the hospital industry in order to develop cost-effective hospital inspection protocols and enforcement strategies, the FDA said. -- by Cinda Becker
Reuse of single-use devices widespread: FDA
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