The Ethics of the Reuse of Disposable Medical Supplies

Asian Bioethics Review 12 (2):103-116 (2020)

Abstract

The use of single-use items is now ubiquitous in medical practice. Because of the high costs of these items, the practice of reusing them after sterilisation is also widespread especially in resource-poor economies. However, the ethics of reusing disposable items remain unclear. There are several analogous conditions, which could shed light on the ethics of reuse of disposables. These include the use of restored kidney transplantation and the use of generic drugs etc. The ethical issues include the question of patient safety and the possibility of infection. It is also important to understand the role of informed consent before reuse of disposables. The widespread practice of reuse may bring down high healthcare costs and also reduce the huge amount of hospital waste that is generated. The reuse of disposables can be justified on various grounds including the safety and the cost effectiveness of this practice.

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