Surgical Tools Washed With Hydraulic Fluid


I am watching GOOD MORNING AMERICA again.

Did you guys see this?


RALEIGH, N.C. Jun 14, 2005-Doctors at two North Carolina hospitals unwittingly used surgical instruments that were cleaned with hydraulic fluid instead of detergent, a mistake that affected nearly 4,000 patients.

Toward the end of last year, elevator workers at Duke Health Raleigh Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital drained hydraulic fluid into empty soap containers and capped them without changing the labels.

Not long afterward, medical staff complained that some of their surgical tools felt slick. But it was not until January that the patients affected learned that for two months their surgeons had unknowingly used instruments washed in the fluid. The instruments also had been run through a steam bath for sterilization.

Duke University Health System assured patients that the mix-up created little chance of medical problems. The hospital said it monitored infection rates and found no increase for the time the hydraulic fluid was used.

But a federal agency determined both hospitals had endangered patients.

Since the problem became public, at least one patient has sued the elevator company, complaining of severe infection, temporary loss of kidney functions and other ailments.

This week, a Raleigh lawyer began running television ads recruiting patients exposed to the fluid. About 15 or 20 former patients complaining of aching joints and infections have contacted him.

This is only part of the piece. The rest can be found here:

Read it all it is very interesting.


423 Posts

Assuming that it is heated to the point of sterility, I guess that it wouldn't matter.


34 Posts

Ahem: being from NC...welllllll...LET's *NOT* go there! LOL;-). Duke has been in hot water WAY too many friggin' times over the last, sheesh, few years for one thing or another. Yikes! That's all I'm gonna mas.


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