Needle Reuse and the Need for Micro-enforcement of the Law

이화여대 법학전문대학원

6기 박유미 (You Mi Park)

Recent news showed that a hospital in North Seoul used the same needle more than 40 times, causing iatrogenic diseases to spread. This is outrageous. The law is missing clauses on the regulation of limiting reuse of all needles. Whether it be a subcutaneous needle for delivering drugs, or IV lines to sustain chronic patients, common medical education would teach to use needles only once, and that the needle is a biohazard, as we never know what the patient has in his or her blood. A blatant misuse of the lack of law is being overlooked by the current Korean government, and a fast enforcement of rules must be in place. The good thing about needles is that once they are reused, it is very easy to verify under the microscope as shown in figure 1:


Figure 1. Illustration of various needle conditions after reuse

Even after a single reuse, the tip is bent and would cause a microtrauma in the tissue that they are trying to penetrate, causing a wider incision than intended by the needle, and increasing the chance for infections. At CDC, reusing needles is a common sense, even amongst illegal drug users, since they get educated on needle usage at an early age. This only goes to show the embarrassing backwardness of the Korean medical society that falls behind even on the basic principle of “First do no harm”, and the law needs to swiftly deliver justice to those who exploit the system and hurt many patients in the process.




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