The Healthcare Safety Information Board (HSIB) have recently launched an investigation into the decontamination of surgical instruments. The investigation seeks to explore what systems are in place to manage the decontamination process. It will also prevent the use of incorrectly decontaminated surgical instruments on patients. This should help to prevent contaminated surgical instruments negligence.

The cause for the investigation involved a woman who underwent a procedure to remove a kidney stone. During the procedure, ‘black’ material was seen to exude from a small tube contained within the surgical instrument. The surgeons stopped the procedure; and they sent the ‘black’ material for analysis. The analysis identified the substance as dried blood. The patient was tested for blood borne viruses, which were negative. She has not developed any symptoms since the procedure.

This national report focuses on the following themes:

  • The role of system level risk and quality management systems in providing assurance within sterile services
  • The focus on decontamination during the design process of surgical instruments
  • The training requirements for sterile services staff to undertake decontamination of surgical instruments.

contaminated surgical instruments negligence

Contaminated Surgical Instruments Negligence

Doctors and hospitals have a responsibility to meet the standard of care for their patients. This means they must develop and follow policies and procedures concerning the sanitisation of surgical instruments.

All re-usable surgical instruments must undergo a decontamination process including washing, cleaning, disinfection, inspection, and sterilisation before they are safe to use on a patient. Some causes of use of contaminated surgical instruments include:

  • Insufficient sanitisation policies and procedures
  • Failure of medical staff to follow sanitisation policies and procedures
  • Improper packaging or storage of medical tools
  • Using instruments from a prior surgery before sanitisation
  • Reusing one-time instruments
  • Intentional misconduct

Incorrectly decontaminated instruments increase the potential for cross contamination and infection of patients. These infections are from residual organic material which has not been removed during the decontamination process.

This can cause patients to suffer for longer than necessary. This is because these infections may not have happened if the surgeons decontaminated the instruments correctly. It can, therefore, lengthen recovery time. Using contaminated surgical instruments can also lead to more serious complications, such as organ failure, serious infections such as HIV, sepsis, loss of limbs, and, in the most extreme circumstances, death.

If you have experienced contaminated surgical instruments negligence that has caused further complications or extended your recovery time beyond what it would have originally been, then you may be able to make a medical negligence claim.

How We Can Help

Here at The Medical Negligence Experts we work with solicitors who have ears of experience dealing with medical negligence claims. This includes contaminated surgical instruments negligence. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138761 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.