500+ patients potentially infected by dirty endoscopes at Buffalo VA Medical Center

Buffalo (N.Y.) Veterans Affairs Medical Center is notifying 526 patients of a potential infection risk associated with improperly sterilized endoscopes used at the facility, according to The Buffalo News.

Hospital officials learned of the sterilization shortfalls during a recent review of the facility's cleaning processes for endoscopes. They discovered a hospital employee may not have followed certain steps in the manufacturer's instructions for properly sterilizing the devices. The employee was "immediately relieved from the position," the hospital said Wednesday in a statement cited by The Buffalo News.

Buffalo VA Medical Center did not disclose how the issue was discovered, how many endoscopes were involved or what reprocessing steps were skipped. Hospital officials said risk of infection from the endoscopes is "very low" and that their actions to notify patients "does not mean veterans were infected," according to the statement.

The hospital will offer affected patients infection screenings at no cost.

The Food and Drug Administration in June published a list of reusable medical devices that hold the greatest risk of infection transmission if not appropriately reprocessed. The list included numerous types of endoscopes.

More articles on infection control and clinical quality:

Pediatric long-term care residents most commonly suffer from respiratory tract infections
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Patient oversight can boost hand hygiene compliance: 4 study findings

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