The health and safety advocate group Public Citizen says Sheridan Memorial Hospital failed to fully sterilize some surgical equipment and may have exposed patients to viral and bacterial infections.
That allegation comes after the Wyoming Department of Health found that he hospital did not adequately sterilize a piece of equipment known as a laryngeal mask airway, which is placed in the throats of patients undergoing surgery to provide air.
Dr. Michael Carome is deputy director for health research at Public Citizen. He says between May and November of last year, some surgical patients may have been exposed to anything from tuberculosis to H-I-V.
“The risk overall is probably low,” says Carome.”But just because it’s low it doesn’t mitigate the need for notifying patients that had these surgeries and giving them an opportunity to be screened for potential illnesses.”
Carome says the hospital has not notified patients that they may have been exposed to infection due to the improperly sterilized equipment, and that hospital officials should immediately initiate efforts to screen patients for potential transmission of diseases and provide treatment should that have occurred.
Sheridan Memorial Hospital could not be reached for comment.