Hospital sterilization scare not an issue here: Woods

While several reports on improperly-sterilized medical instruments have created a stir in southern Ontario, there’s no cause for alarm here, says the CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc.
“We checked our [infection control] procedures because we were ordered to by the Ministry of Health,” Wayne Woods noted Monday. “And all of our procedures exceed the level acceptable by the province.
“It’s not much of an issue here. We maybe only do 10 such procedures [biopsies] a year,” he added. “But everything we do is right up to snuff.”
The procedure checks were done at all three facilities under Riverside (La Verendrye hospital in Fort Frances, and the Emo and Rainy River Health Centres).
The hygiene scare at southern Ontario hospitals rose last Wednesday, with a total of seven now admitting to using improperly-sterilized equipment on patients.
The number of hospitals involved jumped as government-ordered audits were carried out at facilities across the province.
A Canadian Press story last week reported that Health ministry officials don’t know if the problems are the result of human error or from staff not properly following manufacturer’s guidelines, or a combination of the two.
They hoped the audits now being carried out will help determine the cause.
In other news, Woods said “it’s kind of quiet right now” as the newly-elected Liberal government gets its bearings.
But he did say work is proceeding at the St. Mary’s rectory, which was purchased by Riverside to be turned into additional space to house the relocated Riverside Community Counselling and Valley Diabetes Education Centre.
These two services gradually will be moved into their new digs over the next month or so, and should be ready to open there in January.
Work on the rectory began back in April. The renovations have entailed adding fire doors, fire exits, a handicap-accessible washroom, and handicap access, plus cosmetic changes like flooring and new paint on the ceiling and walls.
St. Mary’s parish will continue to occupy four offices and a reception area on the upper floor of the north side of the building.
Meanwhile, work on the $10-million, Phase IV renovation at La Verendrye hospital is expected to start by March.
Woods said tenders for the work are expected back by Dec. 10. After this, the bids will be reviewed, then submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care for its approval.
It’s expected tenders will be awarded some time in February.
The work is estimated to take 18-24 months to complete.
The extensive job—initially estimated at $5.5 million and then $8 million, before the ministry’s recommendations—will include improvements or total overhauls to the hospital’s X-ray department, emergency room, operating rooms, and lab.
The expansion also will include re-locating the dialysis unit and possibly getting a computerized tomography (CT) imaging unit, which has the ability to image a combination of soft tissue, bone, and blood vessels.
The first stage of the renovations will be expanding the parking lot to make room for employee, visitor, and contractor vehicles, as well as a structural expansion of the hospital to the south.