Many of you may already know that the hospital’s main surgical instrument sterilizer is being replaced. During the installation process – expected to be completed by September 1 – our instruments are being sterilized at Frank Howard Memorial in Willits and at an outpatient surgery center in Ukiah.
Two sets of instruments are sterilized for all surgical procedures. If an instrument is accidentally contaminated during surgery and no replacement is immediately available, they are washed and sterilized in our “flash” sterilizer. Our brand new flash sterilizer is a smaller version of the bigger machine. It is used for emergencies and as a back up. During an inspection of our surgical service by The Joint Commission last week, a surveyor stated that “the process that MCDH has established for sterilization of our instruments during this construction period meets all National accreditation patient safety requirements.”
The Off-Campus Sterilizing Approach
Seven of our eight surgeons, including Jack Bellah, M.D., who performs more than 300 orthopedic surgeries each year, reviewed and approved of this plan to have instruments sterilized. Off-campus sterilizing by private companies is common these days: in fact many new hospitals do not have sterilizing equipment.