VA hospital halts surgeries after residue found on equipment

Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora, Colo., is temporarily halting surgeries after an unknown residue was found on reusable medical equipment, a spokesperson confirmed to Becker's May 10. 

"During recent pre-surgery inspections, staff identified that some reusable medical equipment had a residue, resulting in the temporary cancellation of those surgeries," VA press secretary Terrance Hayes, said in a statement. 

In each case, the residue was spotted prior to surgeries, and the procedures were then rescheduled. The VA said it is not aware of any cases in which patients were harmed related to the residue. 

"Patient safety is our number one priority, so we encourage staff to 'stop the line' any time they have concerns — and we commend our staff for identifying this issue and ensuring our Veterans are safe," Mr. Hayes said. 

It's not clear when the hospital will resume surgeries that involve reusable medical equipment. Those that require disposable medical equipment will continue, while emergency surgeries are being referred to community hospitals, according to Mr. Hayes. As of May 10, 181 surgeries had either been re-scheduled or referred to community hospitals. 

Staff are working to identify the cause of the issue and the hospital has sent samples out to identify the substance. Experts have already checked for common contamination causes, and none have turned up positive, hospital leaders said during an employee town hall meeting May 8, according to The Denver Post, which first reported the residue issue. 

"This has not proved simple in IDing what the cause is," Michelle Mountfort, RN, associate director of patient care services for VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, said during the town hall. "We can't resolve until the actual problem is," identified. 

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