4 April 2018 | The Denver area’s Porter Adventist Hospital has notified patients of a sterilization breach that occurred over the last two years and could have put patients at risk of Hepatitis B or C, or HIV. 

According to Denver’s ABC 7 television station, the breach occurred in the sterilization process of medical instruments used for certain surgical procedures. The hospital claims that no patients have been found to be infected so far.

Patients that had orthopedic or spinal surgeries between July 21, 2016 and February 20 of this year at the hospital may be affected.

“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 Dr. Larry Wolk, Porter’s executive director and chief medical officer in a statement. He added that although the risk of infection was unknown in this specific situation, there was a “very low” risk of patients having contracted HIV or the hepatitis viruses.

The hospital claims it stopped using its equipment and reprocessed it on February 20 and that there is no risk to current patients or any others that have had surgery since February 20.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment did an inspection of the hospital’s infection control practices of February 22 after having been notified of the breach on February 21. There is currently an ongoing investigation into the hospital’s disease control program. Wolk claimed that following a March 28 visit to the relevant department, officials said the hospital’s current practices meet standards.

Patients that could have been exposed to infection have been sent letters by the hospital notifying them of the breach.

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.

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