April 5, 2012 

Public Citizen Prompts Wyoming Hospital to Act Responsibly in Responding to Patient Exposures to Inadequately Sterilized Equipment

Statement of Dr. Michael Carome, Deputy Director, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group

Note: Last month, Public Citizen sent the Wyoming Department of Health a letter calling on it to require the Sheridan Memorial Hospital to inform patients about the possible exposure and risks, offer to screen patients for possible infections the exposure may have caused and treat any patients found to have been infected. 

We are pleased that Sheridan Memorial Hospital finally has chosen to act responsibly by notifying all surgical patients who were exposed last year to inadequately sterilized airway masks and offering them free screening for various viral infections that could have resulted from such exposures.

However, these steps should have been taken immediately after the hospital was cited by the Wyoming Department of Health in early November 2011 for failure to properly sterilize the airways. But for the efforts of a courageous whistleblower who allowed this matter to be brought to the attention of the public with the help of Public Citizen, the hundreds of patients who were recklessly exposed to the inadequately sterilized airways would still be in the dark.  

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.