Malaysian Health Ministry Says It is Normal to Reuse ‘Single-Use’ Devices in Hospitals

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There is a reason why they are called “single-use” devices.

Government hospitals in Malaysia were slammed after it was ‘exposed’ that they had been reusing devices that are actually single-use. however, Health director-general Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said it is normal for ‘single-use’ devices to be reused in some hospitals—not only in Malaysia.

Dr. Hisham also reiterated that all consumables and single-use medical devices utilized for patients with blood-borne diseases were disposed of after use. Likewise, he said, the majority of consumables and single-use medical devices for other patients were also disposed of after use.

“However, there are some single-use medical devices that are used more than once, after it has undergone reprocessing via thorough cleansing and sterilization processes.

“This has been long practiced in Malaysia and it has no correlation with health financing or budget issues,” he said in a statement.

According to him, this was a norm even at private healthcare facilities, and in developed countries such as the US.

“The US FDA, for instance, has listed 229 single-use devices known to be reprocessed or considered for reprocessing,” he said, referring to the Food and Drug Administration.

The Health director-general also slammed news outlets for misinforming the public, as they claimed that the hospitals were reusing these items to save money—which wasn’t the case at all.

As a matter of fact, many U.S. hospitals have been practicing the reuse of single-use devices for decades. The U.S. public has expressed increasing concern regarding the risk of infection and injury when reusing medical devices intended and labeled for single use. Although some investigators have demonstrated it is safe to reuse disposable medical devices such as cardiac electrode catheters, additional studies are needed to define the risks and document the benefits.



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