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How Disposable Medical Supplies Changed The World



Medical supplies in all of the various forms that are now available were not always as easy to use or manufacture. There was a long period where every piece of equipment that was used was carefully crafted to be durable and reusable. This included everything from towels and surgical masks to syringes. It took a long time for manufacturers to meet the needs of doctors, finally, patients, and clinics by creating disposable forms of the most commonly used items in a hospital. The development of these disposable supplies changed the world in several ways.

Decreased Infections

The infection rates in hospitals, even at the start of the 19th century, were abysmal. A high number of patients would become sick after procedures or develop problems later after leaving the facility. Part of this was due to an insufficient understanding of sanitation. Another contributing factor was the constant reuse of supplies.

Patients in different wards with entirely different conditions might receive treatment from a nurse with the same set of tools. Sterilization was not always appropriately performed and was not still useful when it was used. Disposable supplies removed many of these issues by providing all healthcare workers with a way to instantly prepare sterile supplies for use on patients. This reduced the number of hospital infections by a significant amount.


The development of disposable medical supplies allowed different tools to be sent to areas where people did not have proper training but still required the amounts. This has permitted immunizations and other necessary medical procedures to be performed in traditionally disadvantaged countries around the world without requiring extensive training of local staff in sterilization and reuse procedures. Disposable supplies are more comfortable to manufacture, more convenient to ship, and much more accessible for people with only a cursory understanding of the supplies to use. This has helped to reduce the spread of easily preventable diseases in many different countries.

Reduction In Transmitted Diseases

All of the different ways that diseases are transmitted were not fully understood even in the last century. Reusable supplies like towels and syringes that are exposed to blood, saliva, or other fluids from one individual are sometimes able to transmit a disease to a hospital professional or patient just from the simple contact. Additionally, people outside of hospitals who have to deal with conditions like diabetes were not always aware of the danger of reusing or sharing a syringe. The development of disposable supplies has resulted in a decrease in the number of diseases that have been transmitted because of shared or unsanitary instruments.

Lower Production Costs

The development of disposable medical supplies has also had a positive effect on the emergence of new technologies and tools. Different types of new supplies can be produced as a disposable product for far less than what it would cost medical supply manufacturers in the past. This has resulted in a more diverse range of supplies that are better suited for specific types of procedures. Patients have also benefited because the increased variety of disposable supplies has made it easier to find items that are comfortable and convenient.