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Hospital admits tools not properly sterilized

October 17, 2008 by  

Around 160 patients could be at risk of a staph infectionApproximately 160 patients may be at risk of developing a staph infection, following a North Carolina hospital’s admission that it had neglected to sterilize surgical instruments.

Although the tools were cleaned, disinfected, decontaminated and packaged, they were not sterilized, the Fayetteville Observer reports.

Medical officials say that the risk of infection is slight, as the instruments had already undergone all of the other steps of the cleaning process.

However, some patients who have been affected by the scare told the news provider they were unsettled by the news.

One woman who did not want to give her name said, "You are so vulnerable when you’re a surgery patient. You’re at their mercy. You have to believe that they are going to take good care of you."

Dr. Chuck Chima, physician advisor to infection control, said that the patients were at risk of a regular staph infection, but not the antibiotic-resistant MRSA.

According to, there are more than 30 different types of staph bacteria that can cause infections in humans, with the most common being staphylococcus aureus.

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  • Bob Livingston

    Staph infection can be deadly and you are highly susceptible to exposure in hospitals.  Emergency medicine is extremely important and a life-saving intervention in the case of accident or injury.  However, it has been my long-time belief that extended stays in hospitals, for whatever reason, are extremely hazardous to your health  –Bob

  • s c mailen, jr.

    Americans continue to suffer at the hands of those who “know” what’s best for us. We spend untold BILLIONS of dollars via MDs, hospitals and insurance. Yet this is NOT enough to protect a patient in a hospital.
    If a patient can’t rely on sterile conditions, then MDs must be forced to know that their right to practice medicine will be challenged on a regular basis. When doctors KNOW their income is in jeopardy, things WILL change. Is it not curious how easy money and health care have so much in common with politics? We already have the be$t government that money can buy. Why make it worse by enduring the be$t health care that money can buy?

  • MaryLou Ross

    I am a retired nurse, I’ve worked as a surgical nurse for many years…
    I know the lengths that a GOOD “Sterile Supply” goes to making sure that everything that comes to them is processed according to protocol.
    Most identification of a set of instruments has a mark that changes color when it goes thru the HVAC for heat sterilzation. Some of the fault lies here with the technician that used the instruments without checking that. 8 years ago I was hospitalized with a bowel obstruction, a set of ‘oscopy’ instruments was used with a mix-up in sterilization…I have battled trying to be comfortable and trying to save my rectum. I suffer constant pain, steroid cremes and dread of what may happen before this rides itself out. In this day of Aids and other things as bad or worse…institutions just cannot – CANNOT-take a chance with their clients health.


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