Denver hospital may have exposed spine, orthopedic patients to HIV, hepatitis in infection control breach: 7 things to know


An infection control breach at Denver-based Porter Adventist Hospital may have put orthopedic and spine surgery patients at risk for surgical site infections or hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV, according to a statement from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

Here are seven things to know.

1. On April 4, Porter Adventist Hospital mailed letters to patients who may have been put at risk by undergoing spine or orthopedic surgery there between July 21, 2016, and Feb. 20, 2018.

2. The CDPHE was notified of the breach Feb. 21. On Feb. 22, the CDPHE conducted an onsite survey of infection control practices at the hospital; a disease control investigation is ongoing.

3. The department found Porter Adventist's process for cleaning surgical instruments after orthopedic and spine surgeries was inadequate, which may have compromised instrument sterilization. The CDPHE is not aware of any breach-related infections at this time.

4. The department last visited the hospital March 28 and confirmed that current infection control practices met standards.

5. The risk of breach-related SSI, above the usual surgical risk, is unknown. The CDPHE considers the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C because of the breach to be very low.

6. Porter Adventist Hospital ceased using the reprocessed surgical equipment on Feb. 20.

7. The health department did not observe any additional risk due to the infection control breach to patients currently scheduled to undergo surgery.

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