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Good Scrubbings Needed in Some Illinois Surgery Centers

By Soyoung Kwak in News on Aug 7, 2011 7:00PM

Photo by Lucid Nightmare
Reports obtained by the Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that there are more than meets the eye in numerous surgery centers across Illinois. A report in the Chicago Tribune highlights the following findings from inspection reports:

  • A Chicago eye surgery center routinely skimped on sterilizing time for surgical instruments, cutting the recommended 10 minutes down to four minutes -- and sometimes -- just three minutes.
  • A central Illinois center didn't investigate why one of its surgeons had a high rate of post-operative infections.
  • A suburban Chicago center cleaned instruments in a sink that had no hot water.

The surprising findings don't stop there. Fourteen of the 21 same-day surgery centers that were inspected in Illinois were cited for infection control problems within the last year. However, more surgery centers (36, to be exact) have yet to be inspected in Illinois. Surgery centers and hospitals are different entities, but surgery centers have shorter turnaround times and are headed by nurses who usually have other responsibilities that do not solely involve oversight of patients and surgical procedures.

After reading the long list of grievances, it appears that one smart way to get the best possible care at a surgery center in Illinois is to seek an accredited surgery center. It is also possible to check with the state health department to see if a center has any citations, or to get recommendations for good surgery centers from nurses themselves.