Medical Waste Disposal Heroes Hidden in Plain Sight

We can measure the value of medical disposal by looking at what we don’t see. There are no children in the playgrounds covered with medical debris, click for source! There are no blotches in the drinking water of other wastes like blood. No medical waste is found on the streets. This could potentially spread illnesses that are already spreading. Medical waste removal can be a messy, scary job. Lucky for us most people won’t have more than an tangential encounter with it.

Medical waste management is not an effortless task. It has required the development of elaborate infrastructures managed by many companies and regulatory bodies charged with protecting our world from contaminated supplies. We could never have imagined this unless we watched our most intense disaster movies or nightmares. There are enough ways that an illness can spread, even without syringes with contaminated needles floating through our sewage systems. By simply touching handles in public transportation used by an infected person, you can quickly spread the illness throughout your social and work circles. It is very likely that disease outbreaks will occur where there are no controls over the management of medical waste.

The mismanagement of medical waste is something I worry about a great deal. The potential for our collective doom seems so fertile. Budget cuts can lead to an incorrectly placed piece of gauze soaked in blood from a previously treated infection, which could expose a whole school or building to a deadly disease. There would then be a rapid spread of the outbreak, and by time we noticed it could already have been too late. There is an awful lot of fear in the world and once a disease starts spreading, there’s no way to contain it.

Though I’m probably alarmist in this case, I don’t mean to. To me, it is clear that medical waste removal heroes are protecting us, our family, our neighbors and coworkers from a bleak future. The heroes deserve to be credited for their efforts, even though they may not have time.

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