Hospitals Are Using Dirty Surgical Tools

A report surfaced today on the frequency of cases where dirty surgical tools were used in hospitals, leading in some cases to serious infections. For example, a patient who had shoulder surgery at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, “developed an infection that ate away at his shoulder bone and rotator cuff. The infection led to a lengthy recovery time, and he became dependent on nurses to help him dress and shower.” Six other patients who had surgery at the same hospital developed infections in a two-week period, leading to the temporary closure of the surgical center while the CDC investigated. The cause in this case seemed to be caked-in human tissue and blood found after minute video inspection.

As it turns out, this is not an uncommon occurrence with the current highly technologically advanced surgical instruments, which are harder to clean the the older, simpler ones made of steel or glass. According to information from the Department of Veterans Affairs “more than 10,000 patients in Florida, Tennessee and had colonoscopies and endoscopies with contaminated tools between 2002 and 2009. Some of these patients have tested positive for HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B.”

Although the FDA supposedly regulates these devices, a sterilization expert commented that, “dog groomers and nail technicians go through more infection control training and have to be certified.”

For more details on this story, see “Filthy surgical instruments: The hidden threat in America’s operating rooms.”