Kaiser workers ask California hospital to halt surgeries over equipment contamination concerns

More than 70 employees at Kaiser Zion Medical Center in San Diego have signed a petition for the facility to suspend surgeries over concerns of potential contamination of surgical trays, according to a June 6 report from The San Diego Union Tribune. 

The news outlet obtained a copy of the petition from Elizabeth Haynes, a surgical technician at the hospital. She said many of the surgical trays at the facility have "black/gray/brown particles of an unknown substance dusting the interiors" as well as "black greasy smears of a known, but not surgically-approved substance." On June 2, Ms. Haynes claims 23 trays had to be opened before one was found without the substances. She continued to see the potential contaminants during her next shift on June 5, she told the news outlet.

"Sterilization guidelines are that anything non-sterile (or) non-sterilizable found inside a surgical tray renders that tray contaminated," Ms. Hayes told The San Diego Union Tribune. 

In a statement to the news outlet, Kaiser underscored its commitment to "safe, quality and timely care," and said it has "confirmed that all measures we are taking to clean, process and transport surgical equipment to our Zion Medical Center for use is safe and medically appropriate." 

"We will continue to schedule surgeries at Zion that can be safely performed," the Oakland, Calif.-based health system said in its statement. 

Kaiser did confirm that surgical instruments used at Zion were currently being cleaned and processed at nearby San Diego Medical Center after an "isolated issue" was detected at Zion related to the hot water tank and equipment used to clean instruments before they are sterilized. The issue caused "minute residual particles" from the hot water tank to appear and the system is "currently cleaning and flushing the lines of this equipment to remove all residual particles." 

In an emailed statement to Becker's, Kaiser said all surigcal instruments used within the health system "undergo a stringent, multi-tiered cleaning  and sterilization process which includes decontamination, ulstrasconic cleaning and washing, visual inspection, sterilization and a further visual inspection prior to use. We are confident that no compromised surgical instruments have reached our patients and that all care has been safe and medically appropriate."  

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars