April 05, 2018
1 min read

Colorado hospital warns patients of potential exposure to HIV, hepatitis

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A Colorado hospital has warned patients they may have been exposed to serious infections through improperly sterilized surgical instruments, according to state health officials.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said patients who underwent orthopedic or spine surgery between July 21, 2016, and Feb. 20, 2018, at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver were at risk for surgical site infections, hepatitis B and C viruses or HIV because of an “infection control breach.”

“The process for cleaning surgical instruments following orthopedic and spine surgeries was found to be inadequate, which may have compromised the sterilization of the instruments,” CDPHE executive director and chief medical officer Larry Wolk, MD, MSPH, said in a statement.

The hospital notified potentially exposed patients in letters mailed April 4.

Image of doctors performing surgery.
Patients who underwent orthopedic or spine surgery at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver may have been exposed to surgical site infections or hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV through improperly sterilized surgical instruments, Colorado state health officials said.
Source: Shutterstock.com

Wolk said the CDPHE is not aware of any patient infections related to the breach. He said the patients’ risk for hepatitis B and C or HIV is very low, and the risk for surgical site infections is unknown.

According to Wolk, the hospital stopped using and reprocessed all surgical equipment in question on Feb. 20. He said the CDPHE was notified of the breach on Feb. 21 and conducted an on-site survey of infection control practices the following day. The department last visited the hospital on March 28 to confirm that current infection control practices meet standards.

“While there is always a risk of infection during surgery, it appears there is no increased risk to current patients having surgery at Porter Adventist Hospital because of the infection control breach,” Wolk said. – by Gerard Gallagher

Disclosures: Infectious Disease News was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.