Saskatchewan Health Authority said three surgical patients were exposed to instruments that did not go through the final step of steam sterilization.
However, the three people are not specifically known, so the authority has notified 13 individuals who may have been exposed within this time period.
The surgeries took place at Saskatoon City Hospital on Feb. 1 and Feb. 4.
According to health officials, they learned Feb. 4 the instruments were sterilized through the washer-disinfector cycle, which destroys blood-borne pathogens, however, they did not go through steam sterilization.
Officials said that although the risk for post-surgical infection has increased for the three patients involved, the risk of infection is still low.
“Nothing is required in addition to their routine follow-up care,” Dr. Paul Babyn, executive physician for provincial programs with Saskatchewan Health Authority, said.
“The likelihood is that it exposed them to nothing; however, it may be a number of slower growing organisms that have spores, like fungi or certain types of bacteria. It’s not clear.”
“It was discovered on Monday in our operating room, where one of the nurses came across a colour indicator for the surgical equipment,” Babyn explained.
The colour indicator tape had not changed to the proper colour that would show appropriate sterilization, according to Babyn. The sterilization unit was then notified and there was an immediate recall to evaluate all the surgical instruments.
Officials added they are deeply sorry for any concern or stress this incident may have caused patients and their families.
An internal review will look into the incident, with a goal of preventing it and similar ones from occurring in the future.
-With files from Rebekah Lesko
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