Indiana hospital warns 1,200 patients may have been exposed to diseases after surgical tool disinfection failure

As many as 1,200 patients at an Indiana hospital may have been exposed to surgical tools that were not properly disinfected prior to use, heightening the risk of infectious disease.

The Goshen News reported Monday that a technician at Goshen Hospital was found to have not completed one step of the sterilization process for surgeries conducted between April 1 and Sept. 30, potentially exposing a total of 1,182 patients to disease.

“The surgical instruments in question were still treated with our usual chemical disinfection and machine sterilization processes which include a wide margin of safety; however, such instruments may or may not have been completely sterile,” read a letter sent to patients obtained by the news outlet.

“While we believe the risk is extremely low, out of the utmost caution, we want to notify you that it is possible that this action may have exposed you to infections. To be very conservative, we want to offer patients free lab testing services to verify the absence or presence of any of these viruses,” it continued.

It wasn’t clear if the technician received disciplinary action for the errors, but a spokesperson for the hospital told the Goshen News that strict procedures were put in place to prevent future mistakes.

“As with any patient safety concern, we rigorously investigated all aspects around the incident,” said chief medical officer Daniel Nafziger. “We have put strict policies and additional safety measures in place to ensure it does not happen again. We also want to express our concern for each of these patients.”


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