Sixty-four patients of the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center in Alamosa, Colo., have been notified that they need "some follow-up testing" after "an issue" was discovered involving the final cleaning process for equipment used to perform colonoscopies. Here are the details.
* According to Denver's 9News , patients who had colonoscopies between July 17 and Aug. 13 were being contacted via telephone and mail and told to be tested for HIV and hepatitis after it was discovered that the hospital's disinfecting machine was not working properly.
* According to Dr. Greg McAuliffe, the Chief Medical Officer at the hospital, contact has been made with the State Department of Health, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state epidemiologist and the Center for Disease Control. All agencies feel that the risk to patients is low, but "we want to take every precaution and remove all doubt," McAuliffe said.
* In addition to asking affected patients to complete lab work, the hospital has offered them additional resources, including provider appointments and a Clinical Information Line, staffed by registered nurses, to address questions and concerns.
* The hospital reported that, upon the discovery of the issue late last week, by medical center surgery staff, colonoscopy procedures were halted and a review of the cleaning process began. The hospital resumed colonoscopy procedures this week.
* The hospital leadership reports that it has been in contact with the manufacturer of the disinfecting equipment and will release more information as it comes available.
* No other surgical procedures or equipment of any kind were affected, the hospital stated.
* The San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center is a fully accredited 49-bed hopsital providing general medical, surgical, intensive care and OB hospital services in south central Colorado. According to the official statement regarding the colonoscopy issue, thousands of colonoscopy procedures have been performed there safely.
* Russ Johnson, San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center CEO, stated: "Upon learning of this concern, we responded immediately to take action and get information we needed to respond appropriately. Our number one priority is the safety of our patients and we will do everything possible to ensure their well being."
* This latest patient notification of unclean medical practices comes just weeks after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that three people had tested positive for either HIV, hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C following unsafe procedures at dental offices in Highlands Ranch and Denver.
* Patients of Dr. Stephen Stein over a nearly 12-year period who had received procedures at his offices involving intravenous medications were asked to get tested for infections following unsafe injection practices. Stein had reportedly been reusing needles and syringes on a number of patients during medical procedures.
* Stein is no longer practicing dentistry.