Porter Adventist Hospital patients warned of risk for HIV, hepatitis

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DENVER — An infection control breach might have impacted people who had orthopedic or spine surgery at Porter Adventist Hospital between July 21, 2016 and Feb. 20, 2018.

The patients might have been put at risk for surgical site infections or for hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The department became aware of the issue after the process for cleaning surgical instruments after orthopedic and spine surgeries was found to be inadequate — which might have compromised the sterilization of the tools.

CDPHE said it is not aware of any patient infections as this time but said the risk of getting any of the diseases is considered low.

The hospital replaced all surgical equipment in question on Feb. 20 and there is no risk to current patients.

Patients who might have been at risk were mailed letters by the hospital on Wednesday and can contact the hospital for more information.

The hospital released a statement on Wednesday.

“At Porter Adventist Hospital, patient safety remains our top priority.  Patients who underwent orthopedic or spine surgery at Porter Adventist Hospital between July 21, 2016 to February 20, 2018 are being notified of a gap in the pre-cleaning process of surgical instruments, prior to manual washing, machine washing, and sterilization.  Please note that only those orthopedic and spine surgery patients during this period are impacted by this notice and will receive a letter by mail.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment stated on their website that, “The department is not aware of any patient infections related to the breach at this time.”  In an abundance of caution, patients are being provided information about surgical site infection and are being given the option to be tested for bloodborne pathogens.  All hospital instruments go through heat sterilization following a multistep pre-cleaning process, which is designed to inactivate viruses including Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and HIV.

We understand that this information may cause concern, and are working closely with our patient care team, doctors and staff to ensure any patients involved have the information and resources they need.

We want to assure patients that our team immediately acted to remedy the situation. Recent survey results released by The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals in the United States, revealed no errors in our process or protocols.”

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