On Friday, the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio announced that it would curtail elective surgeries after 73 incidences last month in which surgeons discovered improper methods of sterilization. In 16 of these cases, fragments of organic material including bone, skin, or blood were left on surgical equipment
BAMC serves as the army's largest healthcare organization. Its burn center has for many decades been the nation's premier provider for burn victims in the U.S. military. BAMC sees some 4,000 civilian and military patients each day
Until further notice, 16 of BAMC's 28 operating rooms will be closed in order to reduce the unit's overall number of patients. In the meantime, BAMC hopes to address issues with staff scheduling, equipment, space, and procedural protocol to improve overall service.
BAMC has been struggling since last year, according to one physician, who told San Antonio Express-News
that there were 24 cases of improperly processed surgical sets in December and 14 in September.
In an Army news statement, Col. Douglas Soderdahl, Deputy Commander for Surgical Services said:
"We wanted to be proactive about ensuring we are 100 percent able to meet the additional requirements with the safety and high quality standards our patients expect and deserve. We took this step very thoughtfully and with our patients first and foremost in mind."