LAWSUIT ALLEGES DIRTY INSTRUMENTS CAUSED HUNDREDS OF INFECTIONS (Orthopedics This Week)
Sixty-seven patients have filed a lawsuit against Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, Colorado, alleging that they developed serious infections at their surgical sites or in their bloodstream because of improper cleaning and sterilization.
The patients, all of whom underwent surgery at Porter Adventist Hospital between 2015 and 2018, alleged that they developed serious infections including hepatitis B, meningitis, and urinary tract, E. coli and staph infections. The lawsuit claims that one patient died after developing sepsis and pneumonia following surgery for a fractured femur.
In 2018, the hospital sent warning letters to 5,800 patients, acknowledging that it had problems with its surgical sterilization procedures for its orthopedic and spine surgeries and that they may have been at risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis, or a surgical site infection. The hospital said that the risk of patients contracting any infections was “very low.”
However, according to Porter Adventist Hospital’s own data, it performed 14,805 surgeries during the period in which contamination issues were known to have existed. While 5,800 patients received warning letters; more than 9,000 patients who had surgery during the same period did not.
An investigation by the state of Colorado identified 76 separate instances where contaminated surgical instruments were brought into the operating rooms. These tools were contaminated with “blood, chunks of bone, cement, hair, and even a dead insect.”
Porter Adventist Hospital released a statement that read, “We acknowledge the concern of these patients and are aware of existing lawsuits stemming from a review by CDPHE [Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment] of the pre-cleaning process of surgical instruments prior to sterilization which was identified in February 2018. To protect the privacy of all involved, we will be addressing this matter through the legal process which is underway. As an outcome of the CDPHE investigation, we continue to provide reports to CDPHE that confirm Porter Adventist Hospital continues to meet the sterilization process guidelines of CDPHE.”