An Indiana hospital says more than 1,000 patients may have been exposed to severe infectious diseases after the hospital learned one of its technicians did not properly sterilize surgical tools.
Goshen Hospital sent out a letter to 1,182 patients who underwent surgery between April and September, notifying them that they may have been exposed to hepatitis B and C, and HIV, Fox42 reported.
However, they said that the risk of infection is “extremely low,” as the tools were almost fully sterilized — “during this time, one step in a multistep cleaning process was not completed with certain surgical instruments in a limited number of cases,” the letter reads.
They were treated with “chemical disinfection and machine sterilization,” Goshen claims, “however, we are not able to determine if such instruments were completely sterile prior to use.”
Lori Deboard, one of the 1,182 patients, said she was “overwhelmed” when she received the letter.
“I was mad, I was really, really mad because when you tell somebody that they could be at risk for something like that, and not only involves you it involves your family, your significant other,” Deboard told WSBT. “I mean, I have grandkids and kids, I have a life.”
Goshen said that “out of an abundance of caution,” they will conduct free blood testing for the potentially exposed patients.
“As with any patient safety concern, we rigorously investigated all aspects around the incident,” said Dr. Daniel Nafziger, Chief Medical Officer at Goshen Hospital. “We have put strict policies and additional safety measures in place to ensure it does not happen again. We also want to express our concern for each of these patients.”
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