Hospital Warning Thousands To Get Children Tested For HIV, Hepatitis After Surgical Equipment Not Sterilized

The notification went out to the families of all 12,000 patients treated at the Bellvue surgery center through the entire five-year history of the facility.
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    A surgical team performs surgery on a patient on Oct. 19, 2011. (Photo by Army Medicine via Flikr)

    A surgical team performs surgery on a patient on Oct. 19, 2011. (Photo by Army Medicine via Flikr)

    SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – Seattle Children’s Hospital is offering free blood tests to 12,000 families after discovering surgical equipment at its Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center had not been properly cleaned and sterilized, reports KIRO-TV.

    “As a result, some patients who had a surgical procedure at Bellevue Clinic may need to be tested for hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV,” said a statement from the hospital. “The risk to patients is extremely low; however, we don’t know the exact risk to each patient.”

    The hospital says required procedures for sterilizing surgical instruments were not always followed.

    The notification went out to the families of all 12,000 patients treated at the Bellvue surgery center through the entire five-year history of the facility.

    “What you’re hearing this is an extreme level of caution,” said Seattle Children’s CEO Jeff Sperring at a news conference. “We’re not aware of any patients (infected) but we’re not going to take chances.”

    Yvonne McPherson told KIRO-TV she’s anxious to get her son Hayden tested.

    “It’s very scary. I mean, these are our kids,” she said. “This is not something to mess around with.”

    The hospital says it has introduced new procedures to sterilize equipment and is working with public health officials to rectify the problem.

    Seattle Children’s Hospital tells KIRO-TV that its Seattle campus is not affected.

    © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc.


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    • Steve Parker

      Well then, go ahead and raise the prices because they screwed up.

    • Loverofskis

      It’s not just in Seattle, I guaranty you. There are unscrupulous doctors and technicians everywhere, who, when they need an instrument, they need it NOW, whether or not it’s completely sterilized.

    • Karen Dianne

      Always remember, it’s just people doing their job. Doesn’t mean they do it correctly, such as the proper procedures being followed. Hospitals may save lives but mistakes people there make can also take yours. My Mom went in the hospital and never came out. She was moved from ICU and died after being moved.

      • BABOSO

        And I’m not excusing what they did by any means. It IS their job to not just provide service: they are sworn to provide quality service. That said, hospitals, like everywhere else suffer budget cutbacks where employees are now doing the job of the person who is no longer there. Corners get cut, just like in any job. I know it’s not right. But it happens. It’s sad. The supposed most progressive country in the world should not be experiencing this. Shameful but not unexpected.

    • Dan Klembara

      I don’t understand how this happens, there are parameters that a trained Sterilization tech or surgical tech should see when using instruments from a sterilized genesis pan or a paper wrapper. The steam sterilization machines (autoclaves) use a print out for temp parameters and indicators on wrappers and pans should turn color. This is really bad for everyone who works there.

    • Marlene Duke

      Could they at least tell when the surgeries were done? How far back should we go etc?

      • Karen Dianne

        The entire time the place was operating.