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December 21, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Swedish Medical Center tells 27 patients to get HIV tests after sterilization error

Swedish Medical Center has advised 27 patients to be tested for HIV and hepatitis after discovering equipment used in prostate procedures was not properly sterilized.

Clay Holtzman, a Swedish spokesman, said the hospital discovered earlier this month that staff at the First Hill hospital had failed to douse the equipment in a sterilizing fluid between uses. That’s the fourth step of a four-part sterilization procedure. The errors occurred between Sept. 19 and Dec. 10. The hospital discovered the problem Dec. 17 and notified patients Friday, Holtzman said.

Holtzman said the other three parts of the hospital’s sterilization procedure were followed — including use of disinfectant spray and protective sheaths on the equipment — and called the risk of infection “extremely low.”

However, as a precaution, Swedish has advised affected patients to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The hospital will provide the tests free or pay for patients to have them at other clinics, Holtzman said.

The hospital error was first reported Saturday by KING 5.

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