A sterilization malpractice by a Denver hospital has placed surgical patients at risk of being infected with HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
While it remains unclear how many patients were put at risk, people who underwent surgical procedures in the hospital are highly recommended to have themselves checked for possible infection.
Denver Hospital Endangers Patients With Sterilization Breach
A so-called sterilization breach at the Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver has placed patients who are at risk of getting HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
"The process for cleaning surgical instruments following orthopedic and spine surgeries was found to be inadequate, which may have compromised the sterilization of the instruments," said the state's health department in a press release.
The hospital is now trying to reach out to patients who had orthopedic or spine surgery in its facilities between July 21, 2016 and Feb. 20. The sterilization malpractice was apparently left unnoticed for nearly two years, but the health department did not specifically say what the Porter Adventist Hospital did wrong. The hospital said that there was "a gap in the pre-cleaning process," also without going into detail on what happened.
Colorado's health department, meanwhile, said that current patients are not at risk, as the hospital stopped using and reprocessed the possibly contaminated surgical equipment as soon as it was informed of the problem.
The health department also said that the actual risk of patients being infected with HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C from the incident is very low, but when it comes to these dreaded diseases, it is always better to be on the safe side.
The health department and the hospital are currently not aware of any infections caused by the incident. In the meantime, an emergency telephone line has been set up for people who believe that they may have been infected: 303-778-5694.
Medical Malpractice In Hospitals
The incident with the Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver is not the first report this year of surgical instruments possibly spreading a disease. In February, a study revealed that Alzheimer's disease may be contagious, as surgical instruments previously used on patients with the condition may transfer amyloid beta, one of the hallmark proteins of the disease.
Meanwhile, other recent reports of medical malpractice include a surgeon in Kenya who performed brain surgery on the wrong patient, and a mother discovering that the back pains she had suffered through for 14 years was caused by a broken epidural needle in her spine.