Hospital Infections, Sterilization Problems Result in Lawsuits From Dozens Of Plaintiffs in Colorado

Nearly 90 plaintiffs have filed claims over hospital infections linked to sterilization problems with certain surgical tools during procedures at Porter Adventist Hospital in Colorado.

The complaint was filed last week by 67 former patients and 20 spouses, according to a report by the Denver Post, indicating that failure to properly clean equipment resulted in at least one death and hundreds of infections at the hospital dating back to 2015.

The lawsuit was filed against the hospital after state officials with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment never raised concerns about the sterilization process at Porter Adventist Hospital. Although the investigation did not directly link specific infections to the hospital’s sterilization problems, investigators found that Porter Adventist officials were claiming there had been no increase in post-surgical patient infections when, in fact, rates began to increase in early 2017.

The investigation’s findings were obtained and reported by the Denver Post this month.

In April 2018, the hospital announced there had been an infection-control breach involving its surgical instruments. The hospital warned that the procedures may have put patients who underwent orthopedic or spine surgery from July 21, 2016 until February 20, 2018 at increased risk of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

The hospital sent a letters to about 5,800 potentially affected patients, indicating the risk of surgical site infection was very low.

Patients involved in the lawsuit claim they suffered a variety of infections following procedures at Porter Adventist Hospital in Colorado, such as sepsis, infections of new joint implants, permanent injuries and the need for repeated surgeries and infection treatments.

According to the state investigation, there were 76 instances where contaminated surgical tools and trays were brought into operating rooms in 2017 and 2018. They were tainted with blood, bone, hair, cement, and at least one dead insect, according to documents seen by the Denver Post.

Porter Adventist Hospital is now operating on a provisional license and state officials indicated that the hospital met all required standards as of March 28 and that it no longer uses surgical equipment from the time period where there were sterilization problems.

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