Lawrence Hospital Notifying 10 Patients, Urging Testing Following Finding of Improperly Sterilized Surgical Trays

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 9, 2011) - As a precautionary measure, 10 patients who had surgery at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, Westchester County, during January are being advised to be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections.

The notification is based on an investigation conducted by Lawrence Hospital after consultation with the New York State Department of Health (DOH). The investigation was initiated after Lawrence Hospital discovered that nine surgical trays were processed incorrectly. The trays were cleaned and disinfected properly but then underwent an incorrect sterilization process. The hospital's investigation identified 10 patients who had surgery during January who may have undergone procedures in which surgical instruments from the affected trays were used.

There is no evidence that any infections were transmitted; however, it is standard procedure to notify patients when they are exposed to improperly sterilized surgical instruments. Testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV is usually recommended to protect patient safety. The risk of infection from this incident is thought to be extremely low because the trays were correctly cleaned and disinfected prior to the sterilization process.

Patients will be notified by letter, and testing is being offered by Lawrence Hospital at no charge if performed there. DOH provides public notification when patients are notified of a potential risk as a result of any investigation.

Patients who have questions can call DOH toll-free at 1-888-636-1551 during regular business hours.