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reuse or throw away?

I just started a new job and the D.D.S. reuses the paper pouches for sterilization many times before disposing of them. I have never worked anywhere that has done this and I find it worrisome and uncomfortable doing this. It seems none in the practice has questioned him on this. I have questioned the other staff and been met with ” that’s the way the Dr. likes it.” I have read many articles on this and they say the pouches are single use. No article has addressed what happens if the pouches are reused. Do they need to be airtight? From what I’ve read, they do not. Would you have a more complete answer for me?

S.



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2 Answers

Disposable sterile pouches should not be reused!! If reused, there is no guarantee that sterilization has been achieved due to the expansion and contraction of the pouch. OSHA would have a field day with this because it is putting patients at risk for cross-contamination. Here is an excellent article that might be worth showing your doctor that explains this: http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-30/issue-2/columns/infection-control/selfndashadhesive-sterilization-pouches.html
It sounds to me like your office needs its yearly OSHA training ASAP! If this practice is not changed, it may be worth an anonymous call to OSHA.

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I completely agree with Kara. If you cannot change this dentist then find other employment and call the state board and osha.

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