A Spring Garden Township surgical center has notified some of its patients of a risk of infection after a review by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The review determined that the center, White Rose Surgical Associates, needed to change two specific areas of infection control in order to comply with nationally recognized guidelines, said Dr. Daniel Henriksen, one of the center's surgeons.
White Rose Surgical sent letters last weekend to all the patients who could be at risk for bloodborne infections, such as Hepatitis B, Henriksen said. Patients also received instructions on how to proceed to local testing laboratories at no cost to them or their insurers, he said.
"Out of an abundance of caution," the center sent letters to about 1,100 patients - about 3 percent of its patient base, Henriksen said. If a patient did not receive a letter, that means the surgeons and the Department of Health do not think there's any risk of infection, he said.
There were two areas of concern: possible contamination of the scope used to examine the lower gastrointestinal tract during a flexible sigmoidoscopy test and thumb vials and certain vials of local anesthetic, he said.
"These are two areas out of many areas and affect a small percentage of our patients," Henriksen said.
The center took immediate steps to update these processes, and they are now up to standard, he said.
The surgeons worked closely with the health department and determined the risk of infection to be low, he said. In the center's 25 years, patients have not had any infections from bloodborne pathogens, he said.
But Henriksen said the center apologizes for the difficulty, stress and anxiety it might have put its patients through.
"We will walk with them through it," he said. "Whatever it takes."
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