The surgical equipment sterilization process is often handled by workers who are undertrained, underpaid and feel pressure to sterilize tools quickly.
When patients in Pennsylvania go in for an operation, they often put their complete trust in the doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals attending to them. However, some healthcare providers use dirty tools and surgical equipment and cause their patients to incur serious infections that threaten their lives and ability to perform basic daily tasks, like getting dressed or using the restroom, independently.
For example, according to Fox News, after undergoing an operation, a man developed an infection that ate away at his rotator cuff and shoulder bone. As a result, the man had to rely on nurses at the hospital to help him shower and get dressed. Upon investigation of the cause of the infection, it was discovered that two of the tools used during the man’s operation were caked with human blood and tissue.
Who is responsible for sterilizing surgical equipment?
According to Today, in many hospitals, the reassembling and cleaning of surgical instruments is handled in the basement by workers who:
- Are underpaid
- Feel like they perform a service that goes unrecognized
- Are under pressure from nurses and surgical staff to clean and sterilize equipment as quickly as possible
Additionally, many of these workers do not have proper training to clean surgical tools. Today states that New Jersey is the only state in the country that requires hospital sterilization workers to participate in training before performing their duties.
Advanced equipment makes cleaning difficult
Fox News states that in the past, surgical equipment was mainly made out of steel and glass and could easily be sterilized with a shot of steam. Today, medical professionals use surgical robotics and high-tech flexible endoscopes while performing operations. When these advanced surgical tools become contaminated with debris, it is difficult to tell if the tools are unclean or if they are safe for use.
Surgical infections often go unreported
The Food and Drug Administration requires surgical equipment manufacturers to supply each tool they produce with specific cleaning instructions, states Today. However, hospitals are not required to report dirty surgical equipment found in operating rooms and only 25 states in the nation have made it a requirement for hospitals to report surgical-site infections that often result in serious issues for their patients.
Patients in Pennsylvania who contract an infection while undergoing a surgical operation may experience complications that prolong their recovery time and threaten their ability to go back to school, work or their normal daily activities. If you received negligent medical care at a hospital, consult with an attorney to find out what legal steps you should take next.