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Sepsis is often preventable

Any time a Washington resident has a wound, there is a risk of infection. When that wound is the result of surgery, some may believe that the controlled nature of the environment and the aftercare eliminates that risk. However, even these precautions cannot prevent all risk of infection, and any infection can lead to serious problems. 

The body’s response to infection is known as sepsis, and the Sepsis Alliance warns that this damage can be deadly. In fact, sepsis kills a third of the people it affects, and those who survive may be left with permanent health problems such as the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Organ dysfunction
  • Amputations
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sometimes, despite the best of care, people develop infections in a surgical wound. Unfortunately, there are also times when a serious medical mistake causes the infection. Such appears to be the case for people who underwent spine or orthopedic surgeries at a hospital in Colorado over a nearly two-year period.

According to KDVR.com, the hospital has issued a public statement regarding the threat that attributes the risk of infection to a “gap in the pre-cleaning process of surgical instruments.” This gap, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment explains, is a heat sterilization process that kills viruses such as Hepatitis B and C, and HIV. No patients have currently come forward with an infection, but the hospital is issuing notifications and information about the warning signs of surgical site infections, as well as providing testing for bloodborne pathogens.