Dirty surgical instruments at DMC frustrate doctors, imperil patients

Aug 25, 2016

In 2010, now Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. One decision he made was to streamline the process of sterilizing medical instruments.

Doctors are worried dirty equipment is endangering patients.
Credit Stanford EdTech / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The result: A sole Central Sterile Processing Department in the basement of Detroit Receiving Hospital.

That department is responsible for cleaning and sterilizing instruments for all five DMC hospitals in Midtown Detroit. That includes Children’s, Detroit Receiving, Harper, Hutzel Women’s and the DMC Heart Hospital.

This means workers must clean and sterilize thousands and thousands of instruments then package them for surgical procedures.

An investigation by Detroit News reporters Karen Bouffard and Joel Kurth revealed that DMC surgeries are now plagued by dirty or missing instruments and equipment.

Surgeons are exasperated and they say this carelessness is posing a risk to their patients.

Reporters Bouffard and Kurth joined Stateside to discuss their findings.

“The volume of the complaints – an enormity of them – is staggering,” Kurth said. “It seems as though there’s really a narrative that has developed that they just continually seemed like they were throwing attention at this issue, and it would seem like it would get better, but then wave after wave after wave of complaints would follow.”


 Karen Bouffard and Joel Kurth are reporters for the Detroit News

 (Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)