A doctor in Middlesex County, New Jersey has had his medical license suspended after it emerged he had been reusing anal catheters. The catheters are often used as part of a medical procedure where doctors use the flexible tubes to collect stool samples from anaesthetised patients suffering from rectal problems. These problems can include constipation, incontinence and other bowel disorders. All in all, it’s a tube you put up your bum to suck some poo out so doctors can run tests on the poo. You’ll be pleased to know that anal catheters are one-use pieces of medical kit that SHOULD be thrown away.
But Sanjiv Patankar reused them. Specifically, his medical assistants “washed and reused the small, flexible catheters inserted into patients’ rectums during medical procedures” on his direct instruction. The catheters were washed using soap, water and bleach and then dried off ready for another surgery.
The committee that suspended his license found that he had acted without “judgement” with the attorney general saying,
“It is appalling that a doctor would engage in such an unsanitary and dangerous practice. Through his alleged conduct, Dr Patankar has demonstrated a reckless disregard for public safety that placed countless patients at risk of communicable diseases.”
Overall, we have to agree. The catheters are single-use for a reason. It would be disgusting if someone reused those wooden sticks doctors put on your tongue before telling you to go, “AAAAAAH” but this is at least three times worse than that.