Hospital Warning Thousands To Get Children Tested For HIV, Hepatitis After Surgical Equipment Not Sterilized

A surgical team performs surgery on a patient on Oct. 19, 2011. (Photo by Army Medicine via Flikr)

A surgical team performs surgery on a patient on Oct. 19, 2011. (Photo by Army Medicine via Flikr)

SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – Seattle Children’s Hospital is offering free blood tests to 12,000 families after discovering surgical equipment at its Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center had not been properly cleaned and sterilized, reports KIRO-TV.

“As a result, some patients who had a surgical procedure at Bellevue Clinic may need to be tested for hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV,” said a statement from the hospital. “The risk to patients is extremely low; however, we don’t know the exact risk to each patient.”

The hospital says required procedures for sterilizing surgical instruments were not always followed.

The notification went out to the families of all 12,000 patients treated at the Bellvue surgery center through the entire five-year history of the facility.

“What you’re hearing this is an extreme level of caution,” said Seattle Children’s CEO Jeff Sperring at a news conference. “We’re not aware of any patients (infected) but we’re not going to take chances.”

Yvonne McPherson told KIRO-TV she’s anxious to get her son Hayden tested.

“It’s very scary. I mean, these are our kids,” she said. “This is not something to mess around with.”

The hospital says it has introduced new procedures to sterilize equipment and is working with public health officials to rectify the problem.

Seattle Children’s Hospital tells KIRO-TV that its Seattle campus is not affected.

© Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc.

 

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