Sterilization issues disrupt surgeries at Indiana VA hospital

Indianapolis-based Roudebush VA Medical Center has suspended operations in its sterile processing department as it investigates issues related to the proper sterilization of surgical instruments. In the meantime, the facility is relying on other VA hospitals in the region to sterilize equipment, which has limited the number or procedures performed at Roudebush, according to a May 23 report from NBC affiliate WTHR

Nurses and surgeons first identified issues with sterilized issues last month, officials with the VA told the news outlet. 

"There were water spots that seemed to have a little bit of a white ring around them and then they also noticed a few brown spots," said Christie Artuso, EdD, RN, associate director of patient care at Roudebush VAMC. "We started to see several of these in a single day, and so then at that point in time … we immediately stopped processing instruments here." 

More than 200 surgeries have been rescheduled or transferred since problems with the sterilization process were first identified, as processing instruments at other facilities has been a time-consuming process. The instruments are often sent to other facilities for sterilization late at night when they are not in use by other VA hospitals.

"We're trying to coordinate [surgeries at Roudebush] based on the availability of our instrumentation," Dr. Artuso said.

The VA has emphasized that there have been no negative patient outcomes related to improperly sterilized surgical instruments. 

The hospital mobilzed an incident response team to investigate and address the root cause of the problem. Officials anticipate sterile processing services will be fully operational again by early June, citing a number of steps it has taken — such as installing four new sterilizers and cleaning all sterilizer chambers — to ensure services are back online as soon as possible. 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars