A New Jersey doctor’s license has been temporarily suspended over his alleged inappropriate and unsanitary use of anal instruments on dozens of patients. Dr. Sanjiv Patankar, a colon and rectal surgeon, who practices in East Brunswick, reportedly inserted disposable single-use anal catheters into numerous patients’ rectums during medical procedures.
According to NJ.com, Attorney General Christopher Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs released a statement saying that Dr. Patankar “placed countless patients at risk of communicable diseases” when he decided to allegedly wash and re-use anal catheters that were supposed to be disposed of after having been used on just one patient.
Anal catheters are used in a number of medical procedures, including one in which fecal matter is collected for testing or fluids are inserted into a patient’s rectum. These instruments become coated in bodily fluids, which makes them unsuitable for repeated use.
However, in a Dec. 19 hearing, the state of New Jersey said that it has documented evidence showing that Dr. Patankar may have used anal catheters in his office in a very dangerous manner throughout 2017. The doctor reportedly performed 82 procedures requiring anal catheters between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30. Instead of using 82 different anal catheters, records showed that only five catheters were ordered during the 11-month period. Dr. Patankar used the anal catheters on patients with disorders such as fecal incontinence and constipation.
NBC News says that the doctor’s medical assistants testified about his excessive use of anal catheters during a recent hearing. The assistants said that Dr. Patankar told them to wash the anal instruments and sanitise them with a bleach solution before rinsing and air drying them. Overbleaching reportedly caused the anal catheters to begin breaking down, but the doctor allegedly ordered his assistant to keep using them.
The doctor reportedly began reusing single-use anal catheters because he had run out of the instruments and replacements were on backorder.
In a statement about the case, Porrino called the doctor’s actions “reckless.”
“It is appalling that a doctor would engage in such an unsanitary and dangerous practice.”
The Board of Medical Examiners said that Dr. Patankar “placed patients in clear and imminent danger” and unanimously voted to temporarily suspend his medical license pending their final decision on whether or not he will lose his license for good.
He was given a 30-day wind-down period in which he is only allowed to practice medicine in a hospital setting while providing the board with proof that he is transferring care of his patients to other doctors.