Waste, carbon emissions are high in the endoscopy suite. How do we reduce the impacts of these vital procedures?
Some 8.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are generated by healthcare systems, with gastroenterology making an outsized contribution to the healthcare sector’s impact on the environment. Some GI experts are beginning to sound the alarm about this problem and encouraging their peers to do something about it.
Heiko Pohl, MD, a professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, in Lebanon, N.H., has come to a painful understanding about the impact of his work on the environment. He has watched the waste bin in his endoscopy suite fill up with debris from case after case, knowing the discarded materials would ultimately end up in a landfill or be incinerated. Day after day.
It turns out that the medical waste that’s generated during an endoscopy has been estimated to be the third largest in hospitals (Gut 2023;72:493-500).
“Our world is in a very bad situation, and there is some urgency to act,” Dr. Pohl said. “Otherwise, we might have a situation where thresholds are overstepped that can’t be turned back.”