DENVER (CBS4) – Many former patients at Porter Adventist Hospital are outraged after finding out they could be risk for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV after it was revealed surgical equipment had not been properly sterilized.
That includes a woman who shared her experience with CBS4 on Thursday and asked that her identity remain a secret. She is one of many concerned former patients who have contacted CBS4, and she said she’d like to be referred to simply as “Kristine” in our reporting.
Kristine says she is one of the unknown number of patients who had orthopedic or spine surgery at the hospital over the last year and a half. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment and hospital administrators are currently working to notify all those surgical patients who had their operations between July 21, 2016 and Feb. 20, 2018. They are offering blood tests to test for the two forms of hepatitis and HIV.
Kristine had foot surgery at Porter last December. She says she has yet to receive some sort of notification, and she’s frustrated and nervous as she worries about both her health and the health of her fiance.
“It’s kind of scary. You don’t want to think about but it’s there,” she said.
Kristine said she had complications after her surgery, and now learning about this possible infection risk brings her stress level up even more.
“What do you say? You’re angry. You know, I can imagine everyone else feeling like us going ‘Wait a minute, now I have to worry about this,'” she said.
Because she’s uncomfortable with the idea of returning to Porter, Kristine scheduled a blood test with a doctor who doesn’t work there. Her appointment for that will happen next week.
“You have to wait several days for (the test results) to come back. So you’re not just like freaked out, but you’re stressed and you have to be concerned because if you turn out positive due to this situation, then your loved ones are also exposed.”
Kristine is clinging to the support of her fiance and has many pets to help her cope. She says she’s trying to deal with her situation one step at a time, but admits she’s thought about the worst-case scenario.
“What are they going to do about it? How are they going to rectify the stress that they are now putting on patients?” she said.
So far, the hospital hasn’t revealed the exact number of patients who are at risk and they haven’t explained why the improper cleaning of surgical instruments took place over such a long period of time.
“To go on for a year and a half? How do you explain that,” she said.
Late on Thursday, Centura Health, which operates Porter Adventist Hospital, said they were placing all surgeries at the hospital on hold on Thursday and Friday. They said that was after they noticed “a potential change in our water quality relative to our surgical equipment.”