Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Proactively Cancels Scheduled Surgeries Due to Unacceptable Risk of Equipment Contamination

Chatham-Kent: July 19, 2015 – Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) made the difficult decision to cancel elective surgical procedures scheduled for Monday, July 20, 2015 after high levels of humidity put surgical equipment at possible risk of contamination.

CKHA was conducting necessary repairs to its back up generator system, which was at critical risk of failure, over the weekend. The scheduled work required the main chillers to be shut down for 15 minutes on Sunday, July 19 at approximately 1400hrs. Due to the extreme weather, this elevated the humidity levels within the Operating Room and Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD), where equipment sterilization occurs.  

The organization proactively responded by evaluating the risk to patient safety and determined to protect patient safety it was necessary to reprocess all equipment. Staff initiated re-processing immediately following the return to normal humidity levels in the affected areas. MDRD was fully functional by approximately 1800hrs. The organization is prioritizing re-processing beginning with emergency procedure kits and expects to be back to normal operations by end of day Monday.

This elevation in humidity resulted in 9 cases being canceled, all of which will be re-scheduled as soon as possible. CKHA staff contacted patients directly on Sunday to inform them of the situation.

“When confronted with this type of decision, we will always err on the side of patient safety. It is our responsibility to ensure that we have a safe environment and equipment to properly support quality care,” said Willi Kirenko, Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive. “In this case, we’ve made the difficult decision that proceeding with these scheduled surgeries would not be in the best interest of our patients. We will be working closely with our surgeons and their offices to accommodate these procedures as soon as possible and we sincerely apologize for this inconvenience to those impacted by this situation.”

For more information contact:
Willi Kirenko, VP & CNE, CKHA
willi [dot] kirenko [at] ckha [dot] on [dot] ca

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