New Jersey physician's license suspended after accusations of reusing anal catheters

A Committee of the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended the medical license of an East Brunswick-based surgeon accused of reusing single-use anal catheters on multiple patients.

Sanjiv Patankar, MD, a colon and rectal surgeon, allegedly instructed medical assistants to wash the catheters — which are designed for one-time use — in soap and water, then soak them in bleach for 30 minutes and let them air dry. The instruments were then allegedly put back into their original packaging and reused in diagnostic tests. During a Dec. 19 hearing, the state presented evidence suggesting that while 82 procedures were performed at Dr. Patankar's office between January and November 2017, only five catheters were ordered by the office in that period.

"It is appalling that a doctor would engage in such an unsanitary and dangerous practice," said Christopher Porrino, New Jersey's attorney general, on Dec. 28. "Through his alleged conduct, Dr. Patankar has demonstrated a reckless disregard for public safety that placed countless patients at risk of communicable diseases."

The committee ruled that Dr. Patankar's actions placed patients in imminent danger and issued a temporary suspension of his medical license. The committee also gave the physician the opportunity to present evidence of ordered catheters to account for all 82 surgeries during the committee's board meeting on Jan. 10.

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