Infections At Surgery Centers

Atlanta, and other metropolitan areas in the state of Georgia have seen a rapid expansion in the numbers of same-day surgery centers. Yesterday, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article suggesting that lack of infection practices are common in the nations more than 5000 outpatient surgery centers.
The study was prompted by a hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas. This outbreak was caused by unsafe injection practices at two outpatient surgery centers.
Failure to wash hands, wear gloves and clean blood glucose meters were among the reported problems found by the study. The study also found that many outpatient centers reuse devices meant to be used only by one person or dipped into single dose medicine vials for multiple patients.
In the study, state inspectors visited 68 outpatient surgery centers in Maryland, North Carolina and Oklahoma. At each site, the inspectors followed at least one patient through the entire stay. The inspections were not announced ahead of time.
The study revealed that 67% of the centers have at least one lapse in infection control and 57% were cited for deficiencies. A few of the centers in the study had not been inspected in 12 years. Under current regulations, state agencies have the main responsibility for making sure the centers comply with federal standards.
In the Nevada outbreak, 63,000 patients were notified that they may have been exposed to blood borne diseases. Nine cases of hepatitis C were linked to the clinics and it is suspected that another hundred cases may also be related.
As a result of the study, United States Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that her department will be expanding its hospital infection control action plan to include ambulatory surgical centers and dialysis centers.

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