Clarksburg V.A. looking for 'root cause' of equipment issues

Published: Jan. 18, 2018 at 3:50 PM EST
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Dr. Glenn Snider, the director of the Louis A. Johnson V.A. Medical Center in Clarksburg, said it's still unclear why water spots appeared on equipment late last year.

The conversation with 5 News came one day after Senator Joe Manchin brought the issue to the attention of V.A. Secretary Dr. David Shulkin on Capitol Hill.

“On December 20th, a high-risk Veteran contacted my office after his bypass surgery was cancelled while he was laying on the operating table at our Clarksburg VA," said Senator Manchin. "The reason being that spots were found on tools processed by the hospital’s autoclave. We’ve been told that they’ve estimated that it will be at least 10 weeks before a Temporary Sterilization Unit will be operational and it will also take a whopping 16 to 18 months to replace the one that is deficient. This is egregious and we need your help."

Dr. Snider said the autoclave, which sterilizes equipment, was inspected by an outside firm and was found to be working properly.

"However, we're not processing steam-sterilized instruments, because we have not yet found the problem with the water spotting that was found on some instruments," Dr. Snider explained.

The autoclave is used to sterilize equipment necessary for certain surgeries, like orthopedic or vascular procedures. According to Dr. Snider, about 130 patients have been impacted by this situation.

He said that they have been transferred to Pittsburgh or local community hospitals, at the expense of the V.A.

Dr. Snider added that outpatient clinics and operating rooms have functioned as normal, and the hospital has two alternative sterilization methods.