Nationwide Lack of Sterile Gowns Cause Surgery Shuffling Update


Updated information from Ballad Health spokesperson, Allie Hinds Adams, is that the delay in surgeries as it pertains to Ballad Health was only two days in the month of January.

Locally in the news, once again surgeries across the country are being cancelled because of a surgical gown shortage. Apparently the Food and Drug Administration have recalled millions of the gowns that doctors wear in operating rooms because they may not actually be sterile. Without sterile gowns, doctors can’t perform surgeries.
It all started when Cardinal Health recalled nine million of their surgical gowns over concerns of sterility, immediately medical centers around the country began to shuffle. Because these gowns are often included in a ‘surgical procedure package’ with other surgical equipment, they can’t guarantee the gown is sterile and it could have contaminated the other objects.
According to Alan Levine, CEO of Ballad Health in Tennessee, they’ve had to reschedule at least two hundred surgeries so far. While they don’t know if they’ve passed the worst of it or not, they are being told it will be at least another month. Cardinal Health is no longer working with that contractor and is in full cooperation with the FDA.
According to a statement given last week, Cardinal Health claims that a Chinese contractor supplying a portion of their gown was using factories not registered with the FDA, and did not maintain correct environmental conditions. Some of the problems they’ve encountered are gowns that have been exposed to contaminants through open windows. Another problem is the failure to provide hand sanitation and even employees eating in the production area.
Ballad Health officials announced that they have been postponing all elective, and non-emergency surgeries because of the nationwide interruption of sterile surgical supplies. Ballad Health officials said that they are operating out of an abundance of caution. If you are a Ballad Health patient and have any questions or concerns regarding this you may call 423-302-3050.

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