Are Hospitals Using Dirty Surgical Instruments?

Picture a surgery in your mind. Even if you haven’t gone under the knife yourself, chances are you have seen at least one episode of a medical drama on television. This has no doubt led you to picture a sterile operating theater with doctors draped in blue or green, a patient laying on a table and a tray full of shiny, clean surgical instruments.

If you visit a hospital in Detroit, you may leave with a very different picture in your mind.

The Midtown hospitals of the Detroit Medical Center have been plagued for years with dirty surgical instruments. A recent investigation by the Detroit News obtained over 200 pages of reports and emails showing that medical staff at the hospitals have been complaining for at least 11 years. Their complaints? That they are forced to work with improperly cleaned, missing or broken surgical instruments.

The reports obtained show that doctors complained of unsterilized tools complicating procedures ranging from appendectomies to brain surgeries. Patients were kept under anesthesia for too long as staff rushed to replace the instruments. Multiple operations were canceled at the very last minute, some being canceled after the patient had already been placed under anesthesia.

Chief surgeon Joseph Lelli of Children’s Hospital wrote an email to administrators in June of 2015. In that email, he warned, “We are putting patients at risk frequently and now canceling up to 10 cases this week… promises just aren’t cutting it.” It was his third such email in six months.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this report is that doctors are not required to tell patients if their procedure was completed using dirty instruments or if they were exposed to serious illness.

If you believe that you may have suffered injury or illness at the hands of a doctor in Charleston, call our office. A member of our team will review the details surrounding your injury and advise you if you may have a case for medical malpractice. Call today for assistance.

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