Case-by-case assessment of recoverable materials for overseas donation from 1318 surgical procedures

JAMA. 1993 May 26;269(20):2647-9.


Objective: To provide a mechanism for addressing the need for consistency and projection in overseas donation of surgical supplies, we conducted a case-by-case inventory of unused materials recovered from all surgical procedures in our facility over a 2.5-month period.

Design: Unused surgical supplies were recovered in coded bags from individual cases and inventoried.

Setting: Inpatient operating rooms at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Main outcome measure: The weight and dollar value of recovered materials were tallied for each case type; these were then extrapolated according to the frequency with which each procedure is performed in the United States to provide an estimate of the impact of a nationwide recovery program.

Results: The value of supplies recovered ranged from $1 (bone marrow transplant) to greater than $40 (liver and vulva/perineum procedures). By extrapolation to case-specific data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey (1990), we estimate that a nationwide recovery program could yield more than $193 million in charitable material and reduce operating room waste by more than 1.7 million kilograms (1948 tons).

Conclusions: Consistency and organization would contribute greatly to efforts to alleviate existing medical supply needs in the developing world. This case-by-case assessment should enable participating centers to project more effectively the outcome of such collections and allow the coordination of efforts. Though unlikely to be adopted by all operating theaters in the United States, the potential charitable contributions from a nationwide recovery program are significant.

MeSH terms

  • Charities / organization & administration*
  • Charities / statistics & numerical data
  • Connecticut
  • Developing Countries
  • Hospitals, University / economics
  • Hospitals, University / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Inventories, Hospital*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Equipment / economics
  • Surgical Equipment / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgical Equipment / supply & distribution*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / economics
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / statistics & numerical data