Denver hospital cancels surgeries after reported infection control breach potentially exposed patients to HIV, hepatitis

Denver-based Porter Adventist Hospital voluntarily canceled most surgeries scheduled to take place at the facility April 5 and April 6. The decision follows the release of a report by the state health department that found patients who underwent orthopedic or spine surgery at the facility during an 18-month period may be at risk for hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV, according to CBS 4 Denver.

"In an abundance of caution, we made the decision to pause all surgeries after we noticed a potential change in our water quality relative to our surgical equipment. We are working closely with patients to reschedule surgeries, and we are supporting them through this process," Centennial, Colo.-based Centura Health, the parent company of Porter Adventist, told CBS 4 Denver.

The decision comes amid the release of a report by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which stated the department became aware of a sterilization breach Feb. 21, and subsequently conducted an on-site survey of the hospital the following day. Officials determined the hospital had engaged in inadequate surgical equipment sterilization practices during the course of an 18-month period, between July 21, 2016, and Feb. 20, 2018.

It is unclear how many patients were affected by the incident.

Officials visited the hospital March 28, and determined the institution's infection control practices were up to standard. The hospital mailed letters to the patients notifying them of the risk on April 4.

Health department officials visited the hospital for the second time April 5 to conduct an additional on-site survey of the institution's infection control practices after reportedly "receiving new information about adequately cleaned surgical equipment," according to CBS 4 Denver.

Porter Adventist previously told Becker's Hospital Review in an emailed statement April 5 the institution is providing potentially exposed patients with information about surgical site infections and offering testing to patients for bloodborne pathogens.

"We understand that this information may cause concern, and are working closely with our patient care team, doctors and staff to ensure any patients involved have the information and resources they need," said the hospital. "We want to assure patients that our team immediately acted to remedy the situation. Recent survey results released by The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals in the United States, revealed no errors in our process or protocols."

To access the full CBS 4 Denver report, click here.

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