Surgeon reused five anal catheters on dozens of patients

A New Jersey surgeon’s medical license has been temporarily suspended for allegedly reusing disposable anal catheters on multiple patients.

Attorney General Christopher Porrino says East Brunswick, New jersey-based colon and rectal surgeon Dr Sanjiv Patankar allegedly washed and reused the one-use catheters that are inserted into patients during medical procedures.

State officials say they have evidence that Patankar ordered only five catheters during time when he performed 82 procedures requiring them.

The state Board of Medical Examiners unanimously voted to suspend the doctor’s license last week, saying he ‘placed patients in clear and imminent danger.’

Dr Sanjiv Patankar's license was suspended after he reused anal catheters on patients

Dr Sanjiv Patankar's license was suspended after he reused anal catheters on patients

Dr Sanjiv Patankar’s license was suspended after he reused anal catheters on patients

Patankar’s license will remain temporarily suspended pending a full hearing in the state Office of Administrative Law and until the Board of Medical Examiners takes final action based on further findings.

Dr Patankar is a colon and rectal surgeon who has been performing operations on patients at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey. 

Anal catheters like the ones that Dr Patankar used and reused are plastic tubes that are inserted into the anus to collect fecal mater or to put fluid into the anal cavity and intestines. 

‘It is appalling that a doctor would engage in such an unsanitary and dangerous practice,’ said New Jersey Attorney General Porrino in a statement from his office.

‘Through his alleged conduct, Dr Patankar has demonstrated a reckless disregard for public safety that placed countless patients at risk of communicable diseases,’ added Porrino. 

The single-use medical devices sell for as little as $0.25 on Alibaba.  

Surgeons may anal catheters to flush a patient’s insides with saline solution or collect stoole samples to test for signs of abnormalities, as Dr Patankar was doing.

The tests, called anorectal manometries are used to evaluate patients for constipation, constipation or lack of bowel control. 

Anal catheters (pictured) like Dr Patankar reused on his patients sell for $0.25 on Alibaba

Anal catheters (pictured) like Dr Patankar reused on his patients sell for $0.25 on Alibaba

Anal catheters (pictured) like Dr Patankar reused on his patients sell for $0.25 on Alibaba

To perform the test, the small end of the tube would be inserted into the patient’s rectum, then he would inflate a small balloon to open up the rectal cavity. The other end was attached to a machine to gauge pressure.  

According to a press release from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG), Dr Patanker used an outdated version of this machine, and the state argued during the Tuesday hearing that the catheter tubes were on back order. 

From examining administrative documents, the court found that his office ordered only five catheter tubes during the period between January 1 to November 30 2017. 

During the same time, he told performed 82 of the anal evaluation tests, ostensibly with only those five tubes, or older ones, according to the OAG release. 

According to testimony from some of his medical assistants – though others defended him – Dr Patankar had a special procedure by which he told them to clean the catheters to be used on future patients. 

He had them wash the tubes in soap and water first, then soak them in bleach for 30 minutes. They were, reportedly, then rinsed again and left out to air dry before being replaced in their original plastic packages – which, prosecutors argued, are clearly marked ‘do not reuse. 

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