FDA warns hospitals could face shortage of critical surgical tools

Video

When you go to a hospital for surgery, you expect the doctors to have the necessary tools for the procedure, but that may not be the case for some.

Hospitals around the nation could be facing shortages of surgical tools due to the closure of sterilization plants across the nation.

Sterilization is a daily process at hospitals and other facilities. It’s used to remove bacteria from medical and surgical tools. It’s also something you probably don’t think about often, but its a vital process for any health care organization.

According to the FDA, ethylene oxide gas is the only method for cleaning many devices made from plastic, metal, or glass. About half of all sterilized surgical tools in the U.S. are cleaned with this gas, but when a person is exposed to high levels, it can be dangerous. The National Institute of Health says dangerous levels of this gas can cause certain types of cancer including leukemia and lymphoma.

That’s why some of these plants have been shut down. A Sanford Health employee says they aren’t affected by this shortage because they have their own sterilization unit.

About 2 years ago, they moved away from the EtO sterilization process and switched to a low-temperature hydrogen peroxide treatment to replace it.

Sanford Health Manager of Sterile Processing Brandi Everding says, “In the fact that our first goal is patient safety so we don’t do direct patient care however we are working for the patient and making sure that those items are sterile and ready for the surgeons and doctors to use and it’s a huge support for the medical center and those clinical areas.”

Sanford Health is in the process of getting a whole new sterilizing processing unit. Right now they have been sterilizing all of their surgical tools in a mobile unit.

Everding says without these units, it could cause many issues with transporting the equipment and getting them back in a timely manner for surgeries. And the process for sterilizing is timely.

“It takes about 4 hours for when an item is brought to us and to turn that item over and essentially get it cleaned, prepped, assembled, and sterilized. It has a cool-down period and we monitor every single item that we sterilize and every load. After that, it’s able to be sent back to the end-user.”

Hospitals use various methods to sterilize their tools. Sanford Health’s new unit will open in about 5 months.

Sanford Health, CHI St. Alexius, and Trinity Hospital all have their own sterile processing units. The FDA has urged hospitals to inventory their supplies and alert government officials if they face major shortages.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Stories

More Local News

Recent Videos

Home Instead

Thumbnail for the video titled "Home Instead"

NDC JULY 10

Thumbnail for the video titled "NDC JULY 10"

Babe Ruth Baseball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Babe Ruth Baseball"

Northwoods League

Thumbnail for the video titled "Northwoods League"

Cancer Center Upgrade

Thumbnail for the video titled "Cancer Center Upgrade"

Bismarck Representatives

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bismarck Representatives"

Bismarck Capitals Baseball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bismarck Capitals Baseball"

Thursday, July 9th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder

Thumbnail for the video titled "Thursday, July 9th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder"

MHA Nation Voting

Thumbnail for the video titled "MHA Nation Voting"

911 Addresses

Thumbnail for the video titled "911 Addresses"

ERG Breakdown

Thumbnail for the video titled "ERG Breakdown"

Washburn Fundraiser

Thumbnail for the video titled "Washburn Fundraiser"

AARC Help

Thumbnail for the video titled "AARC Help"

Ag Field Days

Thumbnail for the video titled "Ag Field Days"

Daycare Reopening

Thumbnail for the video titled "Daycare Reopening"

No Fleas Market

Thumbnail for the video titled "No Fleas Market"

Beet Bucks

Thumbnail for the video titled "Beet Bucks"

Souris Valley Sabre Dogs

Thumbnail for the video titled "Souris Valley Sabre Dogs"

Big Boy Changes

Thumbnail for the video titled "Big Boy Changes"

BisMarket for Kids

Thumbnail for the video titled "BisMarket for Kids"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss