The use of dirty surgical tools — scalpels, trocars and other instruments contaminated with bodily fluids or tissues — is an obvious source of hospital infection. A new study suggests that this problem is more widespread than previously thought. Read more here: http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/22/10471434-today-investigates-dirty-surgical-instruments-a-problem-in-the-or.
Worse yet, surgeons and hospitals are essentially unregulated when it comes to these foul practices.
Consumers often assume, wrongly, that hospitals are closely monitored by the FDA, the Ohio Department of Health or some other State or federal agency. Not so. Hospitals are one of the few industries that self-regulate. The Joint Commission (TJC), a non-profit organization formed by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and other industry organizations, is the only entity that inspects and accredits hospitals. TJC, however, has been widely criticized for being run by hospital insiders and notifying hospitals well before its inspections. You can read more about criticism of The Joint Commission here:
Furthering the risk of bad practices at hospitals, like the use of dirty surgical instruments, is the fact that hospital infection rates are not published. As long as the public cannot see how hospital infection control practices are performing, there will be no calls for reform. In fact, consumers cannot even “vote with their feet” by going to a different hospital, when they are kept in the dark about infection rates. When it comes to our health, that most precious of assets, we should not have to rely on an unregulated industry that continually ignores safe practices.