As many of your know, we have been sending our surgical instruments to other medical facilities to have them sterilized for surgeries. This procedure was undertaken while a new state-of-the-art sterilizer was being installed. While outsourcing sterilization is common and entirely safe for patients, it was a great inconvenience for our staff, one of whom accompanied the instruments to Frank Howard Memorial in Willits or a Ukiah outpatient surgery center to supervise sterilization and return the sterilized instruments to our hospital for use.
I’m pleased to announce that the installation process of our new main sterilizer has been completed and approved for use by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). More importantly, it has been thoroughly tested to make sure it is working properly. Our tests have been perfect, according to Paul Williams, R.N., manager of surgical services, and he and his staff are confident that our new equipment completely sterilizes all instruments to be used for surgery.
Our new machine was manufactured by Steris, the world’s pre-eminent infection prevention, decontamination, and surgical and critical care company, with a long list of first-to-market products and industry-leading service innovations and thousands of customers in more than 60 countries.
We now have a new primary surgical instrument unit and a new backup “flash” sterilizer, which is used when only one or two instruments need to be sterilized for a case in progress.
The installation process was a long one — nearly a year — because of new construction standards for hospitals and the State’s complex approval process. But we finally made it. I want to personally thank all of you who supported the hospital, doctors and staff during this trying time. A big thank you also goes to the surgical crew who worked extra hours and made many, many trips over the hill to ensure safety for our patients.