Waste Not Want Not? In The Medical World?

Package Contents

Anyone who has had a recent hospital experience knows that you have the option of taking home almost anything that comes into your room during your stay — a box of tissues, a package of gauze, a pair of surgical scissors… whatever.  Either that or it gets thrown out.  Okay, an opened box or package… fine.  But surgical scissors or forceps?  Presumably, it costs more to sterilize than to throw out.  Go figure.   And, no matter what, you or your insurance company will be charged for it.

So, Nyel always has me pack it all up.  His motto is: “Waste not want not.”  That, of course, applies to everything in our daily lives, hospitals notwithstanding.   Nyel re-purposes, recycles, reuses and, when it comes to  medical supplies and hospital policies, he feels that home stockpiling beats the throw-away alternative.

Now that we are home and have the services of home health nurses and physical and occupational therapists, necessary medical supplies are ordered by the nurse and paid for by Medicare.  The waste is absolutely appalling — beginning with the packaging.  Box after box of medical supplies are delivered to our door.  (I think we are single-handedly keeping the cardboard recycling bins overstuffed.)

Tah Dah!! The Contents!

Yesterday, for example, Nyel received a package of antibiotic ribbon which I use each day to pack in his “wound” (the sloowwly healing surgical site from his aborted April 28th surgery).  The ribbon in the 7 x 4 inch foil package was 17 inches long by 1 inch wide — about the length of a wide shoelace for a child’s shoe.  It was sent in a 9 inch wide by 12 inch long by 7 inch deep cardboard box and  “protected” by a  folded brown paper eight feet long and 15 inches wide.

Talk about wasteful!! The mind boggles.  We’ve received five or six boxes of supplies just this week,  similarly packaged.  Our Medicare dollars at work.  OMG!  How ironic that my “waste not want not” husband is somehow generating this ridiculous extravagance!  It used to be that when I heard the term “medical waste” I thought of hazardous materials that were collected in bright red containers at hospitals.  Now?  Not so much.  Medical waste is delivered right to our house by FedEx or UPS.  Almost every day!



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