Eastern Health postpones more orthopedic surgeries due to stained kits

Surgery complications continue this coming week, as Eastern Health says it's cancelled two elective orthopedic surgeries scheduled for Monday due to "concerns with surgical equipment."
Two surgeries are cancelled in John's Monday due to continued problems with contaminated kits at Eastern Health. (CBC)

Surgery complications continue this coming week, as Eastern Health says it's cancelled two elective orthopedic surgeries scheduled for Monday due to "concerns with surgical equipment." 

The move comes after orthopedic surgeons approached the health authority Saturday and advised that procedures be put on hold for the week.  

"We are aware and support the decision by orthopedic surgeons to postpone scheduled elective surgeries at the Health Sciences Centre," said Eastern Health CEO David Diamond in a release issued Sunday evening. 

Eastern Health CEO David Diamond says his organization is doing everything they can to ensure the problem with stained surgical equipment is fixed as soon as possible. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

In its statement, Eastern Health said minimal staining and residue has also been found on instruments at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's. 

While there is "a considerable decrease in the degree of brown staining originally observed on towels," Eastern Health said there are still incidents "of black residue on some sterile surgical instruments in some services areas, including orthopedics which has some of the largest and heaviest surgical sets."

The statement went on to read that the health authority is continuing to work diligently to "identify the root cause of the problem."

$2.7 million investigation 

Eastern Health said the current cost of its investigation remains $2.7 million.

Of those funds, $1.3 million has been spent on new instrumentation, while an additional $1.3 million has been spent "reprocessing" existing equipment, gaining "expert advice and sourcing new equipment." Transportation for "charter and commercial flights" to Toronto have also been factored into that cost. 

The health authority said an additional $100,000 has been spent in overtime pay for its staff. 

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