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Fact Sheet from John Cochran VAMC on the resumption of surgeries

Fact Sheet from John Cochran VAMC on the resumption of surgeries

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Published by: St. Louis Public Radio on Mar 10, 2011
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03/10/2011

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U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsFact SheetReopening Surgery at the St. Louis VA Medical Center STATEMENT:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is pleased to announce surgeries will resumeat the St. Louis VA Medical Center. While no single source of the spots has beendetermined despite multiple investigations from VA experts, private vendors andindependent consultants, VA is confident that all potential issues have been rectified atevery point in the sterilization process and surgeries can commence with fullconfidence.
Facts:
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VA¶s primary focus, as always, has been on the safety and care of our Veterans ±keeping them informed, providing the world-class health care they earned, andensuring the best quality care.
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The reason for the stains appears to be multi-factorial. Multiple investigations fromVA experts, private vendors and independent consultants confirmed the stains aremetallic etching from chemical reactions occurring at the atomic level on the trays. Inlight of these results, VA has replaced or refurbished every aspect of the sterilizationprocess in order to proceed with surgeries with complete confidence in our Veterans¶safety.
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Two independent consultants (Charles O. Hancock Associates, Inc., and H&WTechnology, LLC) have reviewed every aspect of the St. Louis VA Medical Center¶ssterilization process and determined the process is completely safe. Their reportsalso support VA¶s exemplary efforts and proactive response to potential problems.
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While surgeries were suspended, the St. Louis VA Medical Center referred Veteransin need of urgent and emergent surgery to community hospitals at VA expense. Thefull costs will be available once final invoices have been received and processed.
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While VA regrets the inconvenience this has caused for the Veterans we serve, thisincident highlights the improved processes and safe guards the leadership at theSt. Louis VAMC made after the discovery of improper reprocessing practices in thefacility dental clinic last March. These processes prevented patient harm by haltingsurgeries before the instruments could be used and facility staff should be lauded for their vigilance.
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On March 8, 2011, VA awarded a $6.8 million design-build contract for thetemporary relocation, future modernization and permanent expansion of the SterileProcessing Department (SPD) area at the VA Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo.

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