Inova Fairfax Hospital cancels up to 150 surgeries over mechanical issues with equipment

Falls Church, Va.-based Inova Fairfax Hospital cancelled all elective surgeries Tuesday after discovering particles on sterilized surgical trays and medical instruments — forcing up to 150 patients to reschedule, according to WTOP.

Emergency surgeries still took place with properly sterilized equipment. However, as a precaution the hospital canceled non-emergency procedures.

The hospital believes the sand-like particles are from the sterilization process and do not pose a threat to patients.

"This particulate matter is non-biological; it's nonprotein, so there is no risk of infection. It appears to be like little particles of sand that are on the trays that show up against a white background," Scott Betzelos, MD, vice president and CMO at Inova Fairfax Hospital, told WTOP.

The hospital plans to complete elective surgeries as scheduled Wednesday using sterilized surgical instruments from other Inova facilities.

Inova notified all patients of the cancellations.  

Editor's note: The headline was updated to reflect that the grit found on sterilized instruments poses no threat to patients and is being reviewed as a mechanical issue, not an infection issue.

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