The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Hospitals Can Resterilize Some Devices for Reuse and Cut Waste.  The February 24, 2010 article quotes Dr. Martin Makary of Johns Hopkins University from his Academic Medicine Journal article stating that refurbished devices:

Reprocessing would decrease the amount of needless waste and also cut costs, stressed Makary. “We estimate that there’s a billion dollars’ (annual) savings represented in these newly opened but never-used devices that could easily be resterilized and retested.”

…And, he suggested, there appears to be no danger to patients: a wide-ranging study he and colleagues performed found no patient-safety events related to medical equipment that had been resterilized by medical reprocessing companies because government standards are so strict, he said.