Unless you need certain types of medical supplies for a specific condition you have, you probably don’t think about medical supplies much. Yet medical supplies play a crucial role in your health care.
Step into any doctor’s or dentist’s office, clinic, or hospital, and you can’t miss the medical supplies. Medical supplies run the gamut from simple sterile cotton pads to sophisticated surgical and diagnostic equipment.
There are several kinds of medical supplies. Diagnostic machines help medical professionals identify and diagnose an injury or illness you may have. X-ray machines can help determine if you’ve got a fractured bone, for example. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, machines can look at soft tissues (such as muscles and ligaments) inside your body and help your doctor find out what’s wrong.
Monitoring equipment can be used to check certain of your bodily functions. For example, most hospitals will connect you to a heart rate monitor to ensure your heart is functioning properly. Practically all doctor’s offices have some sort of blood pressure measuring equipment. Even a humble thermometer can be considered a piece of monitoring equipment.
Life-support equipment goes beyond monitoring (although some devices do that as well) and will actually help you maintain key bodily functions. For instance, if you have serious kidney disease, you might use a dialysis machine to remove impurities from your blood. A medical ventilator might help you breathe during surgery or if you should be suffering from a serious life-threatening condition.
Surgical tools can also be considered medical supplies. Cutters—such as scalpels—forceps and clamps are perhaps the best-known instruments used by surgeons. Surgeons today might also use robotic equipment to assist with some types of surgery.
Medical supplies aren’t solely composed of electrical or metal components. Some medical supplies—including surgical tubing and filters—may actually be a part of a medical machine. Other medical supplies are used without machines or electrical power. You might use gauze bandages, sterile cotton balls, an antiseptic liquid or spray, and waterproof tape to dress and care for a wound at home, for example.
Medical professionals can train for years to learn how to care for patients. While their knowledge and skill can be critical to your health care, it’s important to remember that—like auto mechanics—medical professionals need the right tools to do their jobs properly. Medical supplies help doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses and other medical workers keep you healthy.