31 October 2018 | This Wednesday, a physician sued Denver, Colorado-based Porter Adventist Hospital and its owner Centura Health due to an infection she contracted following hip surgery at the facility. The surgery took place during a period in which the hospital had suffered a sterilization breach. Dr. Melanie Green underwent surgery on July 25, 2016, at Porter Adventist Hospital and then developed a serious infection.
The pediatric endocrinologist said that her medical difficulties were the direct result of “an infection that was 100 percent preventable.”
Speaking to CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger earlier this year, Green said, “I almost died from the infection. I have two small children. It was a horrific experience for my family to go through.”
Green told CBS4 that she contacted the hospital and spoke to a supervisor who told her that there was no increase in surgical site infections during the period of the sterilization breach. This contradicts information from a report by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, which conducted an investigation and found that there had been an uptick in infections during the period.
“I have read the entire report and I am absolutely appalled,” said Green referencing information which included cases of bugs, bones, rust, cement and hair with the surgical instruments or directly on them. However, the report stated that a cause-and-effect relationship between the sterilization breach and infections had not been proven.
Earlier this year, Porter sent letters to approximately 5,800 patients who had received orthopedic or spinal surgeries at the hospital between July 21, 2016, and April 5, 2018, notifying them that they had been exposed to potential infection due to a problem with the sterilization process of various surgical instruments.
The Denver Post reported that the patient notification took place two months after external inspectors from a national hospital accreditation organization spoke to Porter administrators about the problems with their cleaning process.
According to 9News, Green’s lawsuit is the first legal action taken against the hospital due to the sterilization breach. Porter has yet to respond to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that Porter staff were attempting to do more and more surgeries despite insufficient staffing levels.
Porter Adventist Hospital is a 368-bed acute care hospital in the University of Denver area of Denver, Colorado. It is part of Centura Health, a health system managed under a joint operating agreement formed in 2006 between Adventist Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives. Centura operates facilities in Colorado and Kansas.