Contamination Reports Under Investigation
The Department of Health Services has launched an investigation into allegations that a nurse did not properly sterilize instruments used during bariatric surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The problem first was reported on April 11. A staff member told Scripps officials that a nurse was not putting gyroscopes, instruments that help surgeons see inside the stomach, through a third decontamination involving a chemical bath.
The problem was reported to state and federal officials April 14. Scripps is offering blood tests to the 299 patients who underwent bariatric surgery at the facility between Sept. 21, 2004, and April 10.
The hospital has begun notifying patients of the problem, saying the patients could have been infected with hepatitis or HIV because of the instruments.
Hospital CEO Gary Fybel and Chief Medical Officer Dana Launer said infectious disease experts told Scripps officials that there is no possibility of a bacterial infection being transmitted through the instruments and that the chance of transmitting a viral infection is very small (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/3).