Hospital may have exposed patients to HIV

"We are working closely with patients to reschedule surgeries, and we are supporting them through this process".

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has amended its statement regarding the investigation of patient risk of surgical infections. However, the agency says it's still investigating.

"The process for cleaning surgical instruments following orthopedic and spine surgeries was found to be inadequate, which may have compromised the sterilization of the instruments", CDPHE executive director and chief medical officer Larry Wolk, MD, MSPH, said in a statement.

"We want to assure patients that our team immediately acted to remedy the situation".

"Porter has voluntarily suspended all surgical procedures and closed all operating rooms until the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment determines it is safe to resume", the department said in a Friday news release.

The announcement comes after hospital officials noticed "a potential change in our water quality relative to our surgical equipment", according to a statement from Porter Adventist Hospital spokeswoman Chrissy Nicholson.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV from the breach is "unknown, but is considered low". The department conducted an on-site survey of infection control practices at the hospital. The investigation involving disease control is ongoing.

Porter Adventist Hospital, which is operated by Centura Health, mailed letters on April 4 to patients who may have been put at risk.

The hospital revised its infection control practices and received a green light from regulators on March 28.

According to Wolk, the hospital stopped using and reprocessed all surgical equipment in question on February 20.

Porter Adventist Hospital set up an emergency hotline at 303-778-5694 for patients affected by the sterilization breach and to answer their questions about HIV, hepatitis, and other risks.

  • Aubrey Nash