Washington hospital suspends surgeries due to sterilization issue

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PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash., has postponed most surgeries due to a water chemistry issue that is affecting sterilization, the hospital confirmed to Becker's Hospital Review. 

The organization is postponing all surgeries "except for those patients requiring immediate, emergency surgery and whose transfer to another facility would pose a risk to the patient," the hospital said. 

The organization started suspending surgeries Sept. 2 to address a water chemistry imbalance. As of Sept. 4, surgeries were still being postponed. 

The hospital does not have a firm date on when it will resume surgeries, the organization told Becker's Hospital Review Sept. 4. However, the hospital said it is "working around-the-clock on further analysis and repairs."

"Our high standards for sterilization are designed to prevent infection and help ensure the safest care. We are giving our full attention to resolving this problem as quickly as possible and return our operating rooms to full capacity. Simultaneously, we are evaluating a variety of back-up plans and longer-term strategies to help minimize future disruptions," Roseanna Bell, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer of PeaceHealth's Northwest network, said in a statement emailed to Becker's Hospital Review.

During this time, the hospital's emergency department will remain open and continue to accept patients. 

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