- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Fairbanks Memorial Hospital could lose its accreditation after being flagged for inadequately documenting some of its sterilization procedures.

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 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (https://bit.ly/1G2V6bM ).

Chief Nursing Officer Gena Edmiston says infection procedures are the most important measure in hospital surveys.

“If you fail that, you’ve failed,” she said.

The equipment was 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.”

FMH obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Mark Miles says he’s sure these tests were done despite the commission’s inability to find results confirming it.

“I think it’s the heat of the moment and a matter of documentation,” Miles said.

Hospital leaders say they have been trying to minimize the use of the quick sterilization technique, but that sometimes it’s necessary.

The hospital must pass follow-up reviews that include a surprise inspection at some point this month. If it fails, it will lose its accreditation.

Hospital Foundation President Jeff Cook is confident FMH will pass future reviews, and says new procedures went into place Friday to prevent future problems.

“Keeping things in context, we have a very fine hospital,” he said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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