By Stefan V. Zachary, DO, FAOAO, MS
I miss cloth. We were sold on the advantages of the disposable and now we are exposed by the lack of disposables.
Hand surgery, like most of orthopedics, has turned to disposable gowns, drapes, Esmarch bandages, external fixators, insertion devices and masks. Until recently, it was taboo to wear the same surgical mask from patient to patient. Now, with COVID-19, it’s fine. Wear the mask all day, put it in a bag and then use it the next day. Magic!
I tried to get cloth masks in the beginning of this crisis. Our surgery center was one week from running out of disposable masks and gowns. It was to no avail. We are shut down. Imagine, using a cloth mask, changing it at the end of the case and then putting on a fresh clean mask. Clean. No landfill. Clean.
I wish we had reusable cloth personal protection equipment available to protect us and protect the environment. I am not disposable.