William T. Gorton III, Esq.  of Stites & Harbison writes for Becker’s Hospital Review: “First, Do No Harm” Should Extend to the Environment

A long-standing adage in the healthcare industry is “first, do no harm.” When it comes to protecting the environment, this industry must take this challenge to heart. As a group, the healthcare industry generates over two million tons of waste annually. This amount of waste, along with many other aspects associated with healthcare facility operation, gives the industry a very large “environmental footprint” and attracts heavy environmental regulatory, accreditation and ethics scrutiny. This article presents some “food for thought” regarding several major issues surrounding a few primary environmental laws affecting healthcare providers. . .

…Exacerbating this situation even more is the use of “disposable” medical products. It is estimated by the EPA that 1 percent of all solid waste in the U.S. originates at healthcare facilities….

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