Hospital accreditation at risk over sterilization questions

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital could lose its accreditation after being flagged for inadequately documenting some of its sterilization procedures.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that an independent commission says it found three instances since January in which surgical implements like screws or plates may have come in contact with an unsterilized surface.

The equipment was then quickly “flash” sterilized.

But there’s no record of required follow-up tests. The commission says that poses an “immediate risk to life and safety.”

The hospital must pass follow-up reviews, including a surprise inspection. If it fails, it will lose its accreditation.

Hospital Foundation President Jeff Cook says new procedures went into place Friday to prevent future problems.

Hospital leaders say they have been trying to minimize the use of the quick sterilization technique.