100 patients notified of potential risk of infection from improperly cleaned scopes

SEATTLE -- Seattle Children's Hospital said Wednesday it has notified about 100 patients that they have a potential risk of infection after technicians discovered auxillary channel (AC) scopes were not properly cleaned before two colonoscopy procedures.

“The risk of infection for patients is very low, but we don’t want to take any chances,” said Dr. Danielle Zerr, medical director for infection prevention at Seattle Children’s. “We take this type of situation very seriously and launched an investigation as soon as we discovered the problem.”

Seattle Children’s identified patients who underwent procedures using  the two AC scopes and about 100  patients were notified and offered free blood tests to screen for potential infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, C and HIV.

The cleaning-process lapse was first discovered in early November 2013, the hospital said, when the technicians noticed prior to a procedure that an AC scope had not been properly cleaned. The AC scope was returned for reprocessing before being used on patients.  Eight days later, technicians preparing for a separate colonoscopy procedure found another AC scope had not been properly cleaned.

The hospital said that when the second improperly cleaned AC scope was discovered, Seattle Children’s cancelled all colonoscopy procedures and launched an investigation. The investigation uncovered delays in the reprocessing of colonoscopes, as well as the fact that some technicians may not have completed all of the recommended cleaning steps required for AC scopes.

It has since taken steps to correct the mistakes, the hospital said.

Parents or patients who have questions can call the scope information line at Seattle Children’s at 206-987-5193.