Inova Fairfax: Changes have eliminated grit on surgical tools

WASHINGTON — A Fairfax County, Virginia, hospital is back to sterilizing its own medical equipment, and said there have been no signs of the sandlike particles on equipment that led to the cancellation of all elective surgeries earlier this week.

A spokeswoman at Inova Fairfax Hospital told WTOP Thursday that so far, no particles or grit have been found on the materials on the trays full of surgical instruments.

On Tuesday, all elective surgeries were canceled because of the particles. Many of the surgeries were moved to other Inova hospitals; on Wednesday, the hospital used trays and instruments from those other hospitals.

Spokeswoman Tracy Connell said the hospital repaired and replaced its washers and sterilizers. They began using them on Thursday, she said, “and, as of [Thursday] morning, no particulate matter has been detected on any of the reprocessed trays. We continue to perform our standard two-person inspection of every tray to ensure patient safety.”

The hospital is still investigating how the problem occurred, but Connell said they are trying to reschedule some of the canceled elective surgeries for this weekend.

She added that human error has been ruled out, and that the hospital is looking at “a mechanical issue.”

WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report.

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