Using Care Ethics to Examine the Retracted Article by Andrew Wakefield, et al.: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children

Byrd, Rebecca, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Mehta, Nishaki, Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Virginia

Healthcare activities account for 8% of the United States’ national greenhouse emissions, and hospitals alone generate more than 3.5 million pounds of waste annually. A large amount of this solid waste comes from the $40.3 billion disposable medical supply industry. As a result, the use of disposable medical devices impedes a hospital’s ability to operate sustainably. One example of a common disposable medical device is the scrub cap, which is used to cover healthcare professionals’ hair when in a sterile environment. In contrast to scrubs, which are laundered between uses, these pieces of protective equipment become waste after a single use. Furthermore, despite their ubiquity, these devices have many design flaws that make them uncomfortable to wear and threaten to contaminate sterile environments. The goal of this project was to design a reusable scrub cap that addresses the design flaws found in the current disposable scrub caps used within the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System. Through interviews with potential users and an iterative design process, a scrub cap was designed using reusable, washable material. The designed product provides for a more ergonomic fit for a wide variety of users, ensures sterility by containing all hairs, and allows for personnel identification in sterile environments. It also provides healthcare workers with increased radiation protection by including a pocket where a RADPAD® No Brainer® may be inserted. An economic analysis was performed to prove the cost-saving potential of this design. With future work, this product may replace disposable caps in hospitals, making healthcare systems more sustainable and resilient.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
sustainability, scrub cap, sterility
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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