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Originally Posted at: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/8550257.htm?1c

SACARAMENTO - Kaiser Permanente has notified 1,331 patients that procedures performed on them at a Sacramento-area hospital may have been done with contaminated instruments.

Letters asking patients to be tested for hepatitis A, B and C were sent earlier this week to people who underwent certain procedures between Jan. 19 and April 15. Some lung patients are being tested for tuberculosis and other infections.

"We don't expect any positive test results, but we just felt compelled to do this," Dr. Anvar Velgi, chief of infectious disease at the South Sacramento facility, told The Sacramento Bee.

Velgi called for the tests after technicians discovered that two machines used to sterilize scopes - a device used to look into body cavities for sources of bleeding, ulcers or cancers - were partially clogged. That could have prevented disinfectant from fully decontaminating them, Velgi said.

The hospital wants to test anyone who had a scope procedure during the window of time, including an endoscopy, colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

The tools are cleaned manually before they are put in sterilization machines, Velgi said.

Velgi said the machines are being examined every 30 days and that all physicians and nurses who use them are being retrained. Similar machines used at other Kaiser hospitals also will be thoroughly checked.
 

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