SAN ANTONIO - An apology was given today from the commander of one of San Antonio's largest hospitals.
The head of Brooke Army Medical Center said he regrets the inconvenience caused for patients who had surgeries canceled due to concerns over surgical instruments.
Brigadier General Jeffrey Johnson confirmed surgical equipment hasn't always been ready for the operating room in recent months.
"We did find some events where there were unintended retained materials on those instruments. We believe that material is sterile, but it is not what we want to have on the instrument," Johnson said.
Johnson said the material ranged from soap scum to possible human matter.
He said the drop in quality was a result of the hospital pushing the pedal to train employees.
"We want to make sure our surgeons and our other health professionals who make up the team have enough repetitions so they're ready on day one to have incredible, quality outcomes out on the battle field," Johnson said.
BAMC was performing up to 1,400 procedures a month until the slow-down in April, which now has the hospital only performing approximately 600 surgeries a month.
"We decreased the surgical procedures because our sterile processing was unable to keep up with the increased surgical demand," Johnson said.
Johnson said they believe all instruments used in surgery were sterile. Verified, he says, by the fact the infection rate from surgeries has gone down.
However, cancelling and postponing elective surgeries allowed BAMC to meet the demand of urgent and emergency operations while they fix the sterilization process.
Johnson said they need to hire about 30 more surgery technicians to help with the sterilization process before they can get back to performing surgeries like they were.
It's unclear when that process will be complete.
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