State opens investigation after report exposes instrument sterlization issues at DMC

Posted at 12:25 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 14:56:55-04

The State of Michigan has opened an investigation into the sterilization of surgical instruments at the Detroit Medical Center after the Detroit News published an story documenting years of doctor complaints.

Michigan Bureau of Community and Health Systems Director Larry Horvath issued the following statement regarding the investigation: “Based on the Detroit News story, our bureau has initiated an investigation into issues related to the sterilization of surgical equipment at DMC facilities. We encourage anyone with a complaint regarding these issues to please contact the bureau.”

People can also file complaints with the state. 

The Detroit News findings are based on 20 pages of emails and internal reports showing doctors have expressed concerns about safety for at least 11 years over dirty, broken and missing surgical instruments.  The News found evidence that improperly sterilized tools compromised operations from brain surgeries to spinal fusions.  

The DMC was also forced to cancel dozens of operations and keep some patients under anesthesia unnecessarily, according to The Detroit News.

The DMC issued the following statement on Friday to 7 Action News:

"We have not yet been contacted by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs but we will work collaboratively with the Department in any review. According to our internal incident tracking system, there have been no safety issues identified or surgical site infections reported related to central sterile processing.

The Detroit Medical Center leadership, clinicians, and staff are committed to continually improving our performance, and patient safety is always our top priority. We have been working to enhance standardization and efficiency in our sterilization process. 

It’s important to reiterate that we have no reports of patient harm related to CSP; however, we take this matter very seriously and are focused on sustainable improvement."