Medical devices like clamps, forceps, and endoscopes are often sterilized and reused in common medical procedures. But when a device is inadequately cleaned and disinfected, patients may be exposed to “microscopic amounts of blood, body fluids, and tissue from other patients” according to a Consumer Update released by the FDA.
While the FDA asserted that the risk of infection is low from improperly reprocessed medical devices, the agency announced that it is working with healthcare providers and device manufacturers to minimize the risk of contamination by improving “reprocessing” procedures through design optimized for sterilization, clear instructions issued by manufacturers, and facility-wide compliance at hospitals and other healthcare locations.
The FDA is also developing an online resource to educate healthcare providers about proper reprocessing. See the announcement.