Improperly cleaned medical equipment may have exposed thousands to infection at Stittsville clinic

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(Via Ottawa Public Health)

Ottawa – An infection prevention and control lapse investigation by Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has identified that patients who had some minor surgical procedures at the Main Street Family Medical Centre, located at 1251 Stittsville Main Street, may have been exposed to improperly cleaned medical equipment.

The investigation began on April 24, 2018 following a complaint. On April 25, 2018, OPH directed the clinic to stop performing all minor surgical procedures until further notice. There is no ongoing risk to patients being treated at the clinic. At this time, OPH is not aware of any cases of infection associated with this infection prevention and control lapse.

OPH, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, determined that an estimated 4,600 patients who underwent some minor surgical procedures at this clinic between December 2003 and April 25, 2018 may have been exposed to improperly cleaned reusable medical equipment.

Although the risk is low, as a precaution, OPH recommends that patients who received a minor surgical procedure of concern at the clinic between December 2003 and April 25, 2018 undergo testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus, abbreviated as HIV. Today, the Main Street Family Medical Centre is mailing letters to the estimated 4,600 affected clinic patients, which represents 5 percent of the estimated 90,000 patients seen at the clinic since 2003.

Quotes

“The protection of the public’s health is our top priority. As soon as Ottawa Public Health identified the infection prevention and control lapse at the Main Street Family Medical Centre, they acted immediately to ensure no ongoing risk to the public. OPH worked closely with Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to identify who was at risk from this infection prevention and control lapse and to notify those patients as soon as possible.”

Councillor Shad Qadri, Chair of the Ottawa Board of Health

“For some people in our community, this information may create concern. I want to assure residents that, at this time, Ottawa Public Health is not aware of any case of infection associated with this infection prevention and control lapse. Even though the risk of infection transmission is low, as a precaution, Ottawa Public Health recommends that patients who may have been exposed to improperly cleaned medical equipment at this clinic get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.”

Dr. Geneviève Cadieux, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health

Procedures of concern are:

  • Removal of a skin tag, mole, or cyst using a blade or scissors
  • Skin biopsy
  • Incision, drainage, or packing of an abscess or cyst
  • Removal of an ingrown nail
  • Sutures or staples, or their removal
  • Foreign body removal

Procedures that are not a cause for concern include:

  • Injections (e.g., vaccines, vitamin B12, anti-inflammatories, steroids)
  • Blood drawing
  • Removal of a wart or skin lesion using liquid nitrogen (freezing) spray or swab
  • Pap test, endometrial (uterus layer) biopsy
  • Swabs (e.g., throat swabs, nose swabs, testing for sexually transmitted infections)

The letter being mailed to affected patients explains that the patient may have had a minor surgical procedure involving improperly cleaned medical instruments at the clinic and that OPH recommends that they be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. The letter also includes a laboratory requisition that the patient can take directly to any laboratory to be tested, and provides alternatives for testing. OPH recommends that patients who are uncertain about having had a procedure at this clinic should speak to their primary health care provider about their risk and possible testing.

OPH investigates clinics on a complaint basis and does not routinely inspect medical clinics’ infection prevention and control practices. Medical doctors are a self-regulated profession and are responsible for upholding infection prevention and control standards in their own practice. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario ­(CPSO), which regulates physician practice in Ontario, was notified of OPH’s investigation.

For more information about the OPH investigation or information about hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, please visit www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Lapse, call the Ottawa Public Health Information Centre at 613-580-6744 or email healthsante@ottawa.ca. Patients can also contact the Main Street Family Medical Centre at 613-831-7372.


OttawaStart Staff

feedback@ottawastart.com

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