NOTICE: TGH Returns to Normal Surgery Schedule

November 12, 2018 - Tampa General Hospital is returning to a normal surgery schedule after discovering the cause of instrument discoloration.

To track down the source, we brought in outside experts to review the entire cleaning and sterilization process. We also conducted a battery of chemical and biologic tests on instruments and equipment.

Patients were never at risk. Our quality checks performed before for all surgeries allowed us to isolate these instruments. All discolored instruments tested were sterile and free of any infectious agents.

We discovered that natural minerals found in our sterilizing steam exceeded manufacturer guidelines, which may have been a contributing factor. We installed filters that subsequent tests showed resolved the issue.

We also learned that we had become too aggressive in our use of cleaning chemicals, which accelerated the discoloration. A recent change in the cleaning procedure had added another round of an enzymatic cleaner to the process. We’ve altered that process and changed cleaning products with good results.    

Several days of additional instrument testing with no adverse findings has led to our decision to resume a normal surgery schedule. It was a unanimous decision made by a multi-disciplinary hospital team, including senior leadership, quality, nursing, infection prevention, medical staff, IT, facilities, clinical engineering, surgery and SPD, in consultation with our external experts.  

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