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Clean Surgical Instruments A Top Priority For BAMC

Clean surgical instruments are a top priority at Brooke Army Medical Center after a backlog in sterilization prompted a slowdown in elective procedures.

BAMC surgeons operate on more than 13-hundred people a month. Two weeks ago, however, some elective surgeries were postponed because of a lack of available sterilized tools for those operations. 

  

BAMC Commander Brigadier General Jeffrey Johnson apologized Thursday for any inconvenience to patients. "We decreased the surgical procedures because our sterile processing was unable to keep up with the increased surgical demand," he said.

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Credit Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio

  

Mechanical and human checks of sterilized instruments showed some that had been through the process still had tissue and other materials left on them. That’s why BAMC is now hiring 17 more technicians and ramping up their sterilization procedures while slowly adding more cases back in.

Brigadier General Johnson says infection rates have not gone up, and he’s convinced the tools used on patients were clean. "We believe that all of the instruments that reached the operating room were sterile," Johnson emphasized.

BAMC uses 4000 surgical sets as it trains its doctors to be ready to take care of war wounded.

Trauma and urgent surgeries have not been impacted at BAMC.

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Credit Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio