Houston VA Medical Center postpones multiple surgeries due to bacterial water contamination

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Surgeries at the Micheal E. DeBakey VA Medical Center were shut down after reports of bacterial water contamination of surgical instruments on Wednesday.

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According to the VA, there is a routine of testing the deionized water used to wash and disinfect instruments for surgical procedures. The samples are sent for out-of-state testing.

One of the test results came back with a bacteria level that was higher than average, and one sample came back out of the normal range. Other samples were satisfactory.

A new sample has been sent for retesting and is expected to return.

In a statement from the Houston VA Communications Director, they suspect that the water sample from the surgical instrument cleaning table was contaminated due to a mailing issue.

As a precaution, surgeries were postponed until further notice.

The VA says they are doing all they can to confirm the safety of the deionized water and will be taking action on the water safety results as necessary. Their process of cleaning and sterilizing is stringent and involves instruments being cleaned in a high-heat sterilizer.

As of Friday, the VA is operational, and surgical procedures will continue with disposable instruments.
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