Reprocessing of single-use medical devices, a practice that has gained popularity in recent years due to escalating healthcare costs, has been called into question once again after 2 patients have died, at least 7 have been infected and 179 patients may have been exposed to a drug-resistant “superbug” from a contaminated medical device.
The devices in question are reprocessed ERCP endoscopes, also called duodenoscopes, and are used in over half a million procedures a year. The reprocessing of “single use” medical devices has gained popularity and scrutiny over the past several years as device costs have increased and 3rd party reprocessing has offered a lower cost alternative to devices provided by the OEM. Critics of reprocessed devices point to safety concerns, specifically for devices with moving mechanisms such as a duodenoscope.
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