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Security Breach At Denver Hospital May Have Exposed Patients To HIV, Hepatitis

A security breach at the Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, Colorado, could have affected an unknown number of patients.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is investigating what it is calling a “significant health breach” involving sterilization procedures at the hospital, focusing on patients who have had orthopedic or spine surgery over an 18-month period. These patients could now be at risk for HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C, CBS Denver reports.

Dr. Larry Wolk of the health department said that the agency is working with the hospital to notify patients who had undergone orthopedic or spine surgery there between July 21, 2016 and Feb. 20, 2018.

Wolk said in a statement,

The process for cleaning surgical instruments following orthopedic and spine surgeries was found to be inadequate, which may have compromised the sterilization of the instruments.

A spokesperson from the health department admitted that the health breach is “significant,” though there have been no specifics on the number of patients at risk. The hospital sent notifications to patients via mail.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was alerted of the breach on Feb. 21. The department then conducted an on-site survey of the hospital’s infection control practices, and launched a disease control investigation.

Health officials from the state of Colorado visited the hospital on March 28 and found that current infection-control practices met standards.

Centura Health, which operates Porter Adventist Hospital, released a statement, saying, “Patient safety is our top priority at Porter Adventist Hospital. We are proactively working with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment about a gap in the pre-cleaning process, prior to sterilization. While we take any gap in our pre-cleaning process seriously, at this time we are not aware of it having caused any infections. We are reaching out to patients who underwent orthopedic and spine surgery during the time in question. We remain committed to transparency, additional details will be forthcoming.”


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