Prostate exams are not comfortable. The more fat-fingered the doctor, the worse the experience. But at least the snapping of a thin latex glove makes the intrusion seem less personal and lends a certain legitimacy to the dreaded medical procedure. Unless of course, unbeknown to you, that same glove had been digging for gold in every patient before you that day. But this couldn’t possibly happen. Could it?
The quick answer is, yes it could. But not through the fault of skin-flint doctors pinching pennies. They would be equally as disgusted at the notion of reusing disposable sanitary gloves. Yet some of them are. Tens-of-millions of refurbished surgical gloves made their way into the U.S. from Thailand, and more are on their way.
It was last December when health authorities in Thailand raided a warehouse just outside of Bangkok. Its filthy floor was littered with blood and bodily fluid stained surgical gloves. Migrant workers who had previously fled the scene left behind bowls filled with the blue dye they had been dipping salvageable used gloves in to make them look showroom new.
Thank goodness they were discovered and shut down. Now if the officials could only do the same thing with the hundreds more of them still in operation. The coronavirus pandemic skyrocketed a worldwide need for medical-grade gloves and this brought out the race of sub-humans who prey upon humanity’s misfortunes.
Knowing how it’s anticipated to take years to ease the shortage, hospitals are not as selective as they once were in terms of where certain products are manufactured, and by whom. They’re happy to take what they can get and counterfeiters are pleased as punch to help them out. And let’s be honest here. What hospital purchaser, or anyone, could begin to fathom such a horrific practice?
Even as this article is being written, millions of cases of refurbished gloves, being sold as new, are sitting on loading docks. They’re destined to join the tens of millions of pairs that have already crossed the border into hospitals in the U.S., and proctologists offices, from coast to coast and all points in between.
Douglas Stein, a U.S. official working with Thai authorities on the matter, said that medical-grade gloves are the “most dangerous commodity on Earth right now.”
“There’s an enormous amount of bad product coming in. An endless stream of filthy, second-hand and substandard gloves coming into the US of which federal authorities, it seems, are only now beginning to understand the enormous scale,” Stein said.
Due to shortages caused by the pandemic, almost every restriction for importing disposable medical supplies was lifted. Beggars can’t be choosers. For these reasons, investigators are having a difficult time getting a handle on the situation. In the meantime, more of the substandard gloves continue to arrive, and we can all be assured, Thailand is not the only country of origin.
In all fairness, it must be pointed out how both the Food and Drug Administration and Customs and Border Patrol dragged their government feet. Early this year, a major U.S. importer of medical products told both agencies that it had received shipments of visibly soiled gloves from a Thai exporter.
By the time investigators acted on the complaint, the same company had already shipped ocean freighters full of them. Busting one or two of the illicit glove-dying warehouses isn’t even a good start. They just pop up elsewhere.
There is only one thing that would put an end to used gloves being inserted where the sun won’t shine, and that “thing” has a name. Joe Biden. Not only does he have the power to reinforce medical import requirements, but tossing a little money toward making surgical gloves here in the states while creating a few new jobs might even earn him a few kudos.
But like he always does, he’ll just keep bending us over and sticking more dirt up America’s rosy red behind.