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Non-urgent surgeries postponed at QEII hospital due to sterilization problem

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. Paul Dewitt/ Global News

HALIFAX – The QEII Health Sciences Centre is postponing most of its elective surgeries on Monday because of an issue with equipment sterilization.

The health authority estimates 80 out of the scheduled 96 non-urgent procedures will be affected.

Senior Director Karen Mumford said staff noticed small black debris on some of their sterile sets or trays on Saturday.

“Not 100 per cent of our trays are affected although we are taking extreme caution to make sure that we’re providing a safe environment for our patients,” Mumford said.

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The hospital is investigating the source of the debris but Mumford said it doesn’t appear to be human error.

“Part of our sterilization process is [equipment] do go through sterilizers and we prepare them,” she said.

“They are cleaned and then wrapped and then have to go through a sterilization process and we believe it’s in that sterilization process that there is an issue of an unknown cause.”

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All urgent, emergency and time-sensitive cases will go ahead using equipment that is sterilized at other facilities within the health authority.

Mumford said the hospital is calling patients whose surgeries are being postponed. It’s unclear if Tuesday’s surgeries will be affected and in what capacity.

With files from Ray Bradshaw