In times like the coronavirus pandemic, the burden on the medical industry is even heavier. To guarantee the safety of patients and staff alike, (not to mention preventing any infection from spreading outside the walls of the building) hospitals, clinics, and all other medical facilities must be sure that they have the necessary equipment for both sterilization and the safe disposal of infectious medical waste.
Still, even without the ever-present threat of Covid-19, hazardous medical waste disposal is an issue that medical facilities always have to deal with. Pandemic or not, without the proper handling and removal procedures, this still poses a risk of infection for all parties involved. In the following article, we will discuss in details how to identify the types of biomedical waste, what the associated risks are, as well as how to prevent them with what Celitron considers to be one of the best ways to handle sterilization and infectious medical waste disposal.
What is infectious medical waste? – Definition and meaning
Infectious medical waste is one of the most dangerous types of waste generated by medical facilities, and represents the majority of dangerous waste generated by the medical industry. By definition, any waste that contains potentially dangerous microorganism that can infect humans and/or animals is can be considered as infectious. Such waste is usually generated during the diagnosis and treatment of any human being and animal that has been infected with a virus or any other disease-causing organism.
What are the different types of infectious biomedical waste?
There are many types of medical waste that can be considered as potentially infectious, and that will require special disposal and treatment (see end of this article for details). Examples include:
Medical sharps waste
One of the most dangerous, and also one of the most common types of infectious waste, since virtually all medical facilities require the use of sharps in their day-to-day activities. Since they can easily cut or pierce the skin, they can spread infections a lot more easily than other types of hazardous waste. This quality also requires them to be stored in appropriate sharps containers before disposal, since they can easily pierce through the average garbage bag.
Any medical instrument that is capable of puncturing or cutting the skin (as the name implies),can be considered as sharps waste. Needles and surgical stools like scalpels fall under this subcategory too.
This subcategory of infectious medical waste typically originates from surgical procedures, and can originate from humans and animals alike. The most common examples are human/animal tissues collected for sample analysis, body parts, organs, or carcasses. As these can still contain liquids, they also require special care during the storage phase, such as double-bagging to prevent leakage. If its disposal isn’t handled in the foreseeable future, it also needs to be refrigerated to slow down decomposition.
Broader categories of infectious medical waste
By definition, almost any material has the potential to become infectious medical waste if it was present during medical procedures and has been in contact with patients. Hospital beddings, textiles, plastics, papers, and even glass needs to be treated accordingly if that is the case.
What are the risks of improper infectious medical waste disposal?
Apart from incurring fines, the improper handling of hazardous waste can lead to the spread of many different kinds of infections. The most dangerous examples include:
Hepatitis B and C
Even an accidental cut from sharps waste can transmit these diseases, if any needle or surgical equipment has been in contact with Hepatitis B or C.
Many types of infectious medical waste contain pathogens that can easily infect the human skin. Even before the disposal can take place, it is crucial you ensure that staff is wearing proper defensive equipment when handling potentially hazardous waste. Any cracked container is also considered a source of danger, and should be avoided.
The bodily fluids in pathological waste can lead to the severe inflammation of the membranes around the brain as well as the spinal cord. Thankfully, the best disposal methods can already render the waste sterile on-site!
So what is the most capable method for infectious medical waste disposal?
The best way should also be the safest, a qualification that perfectly describes Celitron’s ISS (Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder): it has been specifically designed to handle the on-site disposal of infectious medical waste. It incorporates the features of an autoclave and a medical waste shredder in one single vessel, which allows it to sterilize, fragment, and render all manners of hazardous waste into sterile, dry garbage that is completely free from all toxins and devoid of liquid waste. The “final product” is also reduced to about the fifth of the original size of the inserted load.
In short, almost all forms of infectious medical waste can be treated as regular municipal rubbish once it goes through the ISS, and can be disposed of like regular trash, without any risks to patients and staff.
Apart from this safe procedure, there are other features and advantages you can expect from the ISS, such as:
- a complete compliance with EU and WHO recommendations
- zero harmful substances emitted
- cost-effective operation and maintenance
- easy to use, and easily integrated into your current waste management system
- can treat up to 150 kgs of infectious medical waste within a 15-35 minute long cycle
Furthermore, thanks to its versatility, effectiveness, and user-friendly mechanism, Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder can serve virtually any facility in the medical industry, including hospitals, clinics, surgical and plasma centers, blood banks, and even dialysis centers.
Among other types of infectious medical waste, the most notable materials you can dispose of are:
- Scalpels and other surgical equipment
- Syringes, sharps, and complete sharps waste containers
- Pathological waste like human tissue, body parts, blood
- Almost any material that risks being infectious: textiles, papers, plastic, glass
All in all, if you’re looking for a comfortable and immensely effective on-site solution to safely handle infectious medical waste disposal, you can’t go wrong with Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder. We have already supported numerous medical facilities with over 400 hundred units worldwide in more than 40 different countries. Don’t hesitate to contact us too, and we’ll provide you with the most suitable equipment for your facility!