A growing danger in hospital operating rooms is dirty surgical tools. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They investigated dozens of hospital O-Rs across North America, and found potentially deadly bacteria on surgical tools that were supposedly “sterilized.”
For example: They found bacteria, blood and other debris inside endoscopes used for colonoscopies, arthroscopic shavers used for joint surgery, and even inside hundreds of “suction” tools - like the ones your dentist uses in your mouth!
Experts say part of the problem is that as surgical tools have grown smaller and more technical, they’ve also become harder to clean. Plus, to keep surgeries affordable, many smaller hospitals buy tools made from cheaper materials.
For example: More tools are made of plastic – which is cheaper – but also harder to disinfect than stainless steel.
Another problem is that the people in charge of cleaning all those tools may not be properly trained for the job! In fact, New Jersey is the only state that requires hospital sterilization workers to undergo training.
The good news is that thanks to this report, there’s a new push to require more states to only hire trained sterilization technicians.