For many people, it’s something they take for granted: the plastic packaging keeping needles sterile, the pillbox keeping critical medicine protected and safe, the IV drip at a bedside. What these everyday and sometimes life-saving items have in common, however, is that they are all made of plastic.
Modern healthcare would be impossible without the use of plastic materials; numerous crucial medical items we take for granted are made of plastic- disposable syringes, intravenous blood bags and heart valves included. Plastics have made health care more straightforward and less painful, reduced the weight of medical items and serving as the critical components in modern prosthetic devices and more.
Plastics are critical for ensuring that doctors, patients, nurses and lab technicians are protected from exposure to dangerous bacteria and viruses, simply by sealing off sterile equipment and preventing contamination. Plastics are not only vital for the production of important medical apparatus but are critical for ensuring that medical items are transported safely and easily and for protecting and sealing items like needles and other tools to avoid the spread of diseases and bacteria.
Plastics have a financial impact as well. The use of plastics has reduced the cost of medical items while being lighter and more biocompatible than traditional materials. Currently, the most widely used plastic material in medical applications is PVC, followed by PE, PP, PS and PET. These plastic materials form the base of items such as catheters, slow-release pill casings, hearing implants and prosthetics.
Plastics have made patients’ lives easier and healthier, with the invention of cutting-edge technology that saves lives, and the production of at-home plastic medical equipment like air purifiers, feeding tubes, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, sterile injections, and more. These innovations have allowed patients to save money, avoid a trip to the doctors and manage their own health.
It’s evident that plastic remains an indispensable part of the medical field and one which carries enormous weight for the health and safety of both patients and medical practitioners.