Back to Top Skip to main content

Keeping surgical instruments sterile, safe

The first line of defense in combating patient infections for a hospital is its Central Services. Sterile processing technicians sterilize and decontaminate reusable surgical and clinical instruments in adherence to standards and recommended practices prioritizing patient safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma) The first line of defense in combating patient infections for a hospital is its Central Services. Sterile processing technicians sterilize and decontaminate reusable surgical and clinical instruments in adherence to standards and recommended practices prioritizing patient safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma)

Recommended Content:

Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Healthcare Professionals) | Military Hospitals and Clinics

EL PASO, Texas — According to the World Health Organization, Health care-Associated Infection is the most frequent adverse event in health-care delivery worldwide.

While nosocomial infections, an infection acquired while admitted to a hospital, account for everything from urinary tract infections to pneumonia, a dedicated group of technicians at William Beaumont Army Medical Center work around the clock to minimize the potential for surgical site infections.

“We are the personnel who process reusable instruments,” said Army Capt. Cliff Fontanez, officer in charge, Sterile Processing Department, WBAMC. “Instruments that are used for surgery are sterilized here, with different levels of decontamination.”

The first line of defense in combating patient infections for a hospital is its Central Services, or SPD as it is known at WBAMC. Sterile processing technicians sterilize and decontaminate reusable surgical and clinical instruments in adherence to standards and recommended practices prioritizing patient safety.

“If the SPD goes down the Operating Room can’t function, most procedures at clinics can’t be done,” said Fontanez. “On a daily basis we decontaminate instruments that were used.”

While the main supply of unsterile instruments comes from WBAMC’s Operating Room, SPD processes all WBAMC instruments from dental to OBGYN. In addition to military and Department of the Army civilians, the SPD’s capabilities are increased by incorporating Veterans Affairs SPD technicians to serve not only WBAMC clinics but also the El Paso Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

“The heart of the hospital starts with the ER, the same thing goes for us when it comes to the OR,” said Michelle Kim, SPD technician, WBAMC. “It’s not just cleaning instruments; (technicians) need to be knowledgeable.”

With each new surgical procedure introduced at WBAMC, technicians must train on the proper decontamination/ sterilization processes required for the procedure’s instruments, to include assembly and disassembly and functionality tests for specialized tools. About 6,000 sets of instruments are sterilized each month at SPD and each set may contain a few dozen instruments to more than 200.

“In the past most of the instruments were very easy to clean and process,” said Fontanez. “Now you can have five to six different sterilization methods for different types of instruments, including microsurgery instruments which are very delicate.”

According to Fontanez, the future of SPD technicians at WBAMC is filled with more learning opportunities as they prepare for operations out of the Fort Bliss Replacement Hospital. An increase in surgical capabilities and minimally-invasive robotic surgeries requiring specialized technical expertise is expected with the move.

“You need to know the (surgical) procedures,” said Kim, who has been working in the field for over a year now. “I love it.”

“They always say SPD are the unsung heroes,” said Fontanez. “If we stop, they stop.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

TRICARE website expands to include military hospital sites

Article
10/16/2019
The TRICARE website is growing. As of Oct. 1, TRICARE welcomed several military hospitals and clinics to its website.

By 2021, more than 350 individual military hospital and clinic websites will move to TRICARE.mil.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Soldier self-amputates leg to aid battle buddies

Article
10/9/2019
Army Spc. Ezra Maes undergoes physical rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center's cutting-edge rehabilitation center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Oct. 2, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Corey Toye)

If I didn't help myself, my crew, no one was going to

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Warrior Care

Naval Hospital Pensacola transitions to DHA, stands up readiness training commands

Article
9/20/2019
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joren Seibert uses cryotherapy for wart removal at Naval Branch Health Clinic Jacksonville’s primary care. Seibert, a native of Galesburg, Illinois, says, “I started in the Navy as a deck seaman and can now proudly say I’m a hospital corpsman. The people we care for deserve nothing but the best. Being able to directly help those folks every day is what keeps me coming back and what motivates me to continue being a better corpsman." (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

To support the transition, Navy Medicine is establishing a co-located readiness and training command

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

A surprise delivery at Fort Bragg’s maternity fair

Article
9/19/2019
Pamela Riis (in pink the pink top) learns more about the use of nitrous oxide during labor at the semiannual Fort Bragg Maternity Fair. More than 300 pregnant women, soon-to-be dads, parents of infants, and those planning to have a baby soon participated in the event. (U.S. Army photo by Patricia Beal)

For Linda Steadman, a certified nursing assistant, this will be a day to remember

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Women's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Officials discuss Blanchfield Hospital’s future as transition nears

Article
8/15/2019
Army Maj. Gen. Ron Place, who was recently confirmed for promotion to lieutenant general and selected to serve as the next director of DHA, visited Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Aug. 7 for more discussion about the hospital’s transition to DHA Oct. 1. (U.S. Army photo)

Supporting forces remains the number one priority of the Defense Health Agency

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Maxwell AFB’s medical group reorganizes, improves health care

Article
8/9/2019
Air Force Medical Service seal

The Air Force Medical Service is transforming 43 military treatment facilities

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Sesame Street celebrates 50th anniversary at Madigan

Article
8/5/2019
Army Col. (Dr.) Matthew Studer, the chief of Madigan's Department of Pediatrics, talks with Nina and Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street during a special visit at Madigan Army Medical Center on July 26. (U.S. Army photo by Ryan Graham)

As a part of their 50th anniversary tour across America, Sesame Street made a special stop at Madigan

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Soldier helps save life of man struck by lightning

Article
7/25/2019
Army Capt. Robert Blume, physician assistant, has been called a "guardian angel" for his heroic actions, June 6, 2019, after saving the life of a man struck by lightning. Blume, along with San Antonio-area first responders, worked together to help 21-year-old Joshua Favor, after he was electrocuted while delivering roofing materials during a break in a thunderstorm. (U.S. Army photo Jose E. Rodriguez)

Blume went home that evening unaware of Favor's condition

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Madigan pharmacy wait time drops

Article
7/25/2019
Pharmacist Ashley Burrill fills a prescription at the Madigan pharmacy on July 23. Assigning staff to their strongest roles helped to reduce the pharmacy wait time. (U.S. Army photo by Suzanne Ovel)

The average pharmacy wait time was between 90 and 120 minutes; now, the average is 20 to 25 minutes

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | MHS GENESIS | Military Hospitals and Clinics

MHS GENESIS discussed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Article
7/16/2019
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michelle Rootes (center), 673d Medical Group superintendent, and U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Lamey (right), 673d MDG deputy commander, welcome U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee E. Payne, Defense Health Agency Assistant Director for Combat Support, and Military Health System Electronic Health Record Functional Champion, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 9, 2019. Payne visited JBER to discuss upcoming changes to MHS and what that means for patients and providers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Valdes Montijo)

Payne highlighted the new electronic health record

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Puget Sound MHS plans for a joint medical environment

Article
7/15/2019
Puget Sound logo

Puget Sound MHS will transition to Defense Health Agency management beginning on Oct. 1

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Vice President Pence tours USNS Comfort before its Latin America deployment

Article
6/20/2019
Vice President Mike Pence (right) greets Navy Lt. Gwendolyn Mann, and his wife, Karen Pence (center right), greets Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Edna Wallace during a tour of the USNS Comfort in Miami, June 18, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Jordan R. Bair)

The vice president called the deployment a lifesaving mission

Recommended Content:

Civil Military Medicine | Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief | Global Health Engagement | Military Hospitals and Clinics

DHA director visits Tyndall

Article
6/11/2019
Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, speaks at a town hall June 5, 2019 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. During her visit, she applauded the medical Airmen who have endured the challenges due to Hurricane Michael. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Sing

The goal for the DoD switching administration to DHA is a more integrated, efficient and effective system of readiness and health

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Hospital honored for Hepatitis B vaccine birth dose rate

Article
6/10/2019
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Tommy Baker checks on Navy Logistics Specialist Seaman Tabernesha Victrum and Romeo Taylor as they hold their newborn daughter at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Maternal Infant Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

NH Jacksonville is the newest entry into IAC’s Birth Dose Honor Roll

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Immunization Healthcare

DHA director discusses healthcare transformation at town hall

Article
5/24/2019
Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, discusses the DHA transition during a town hall meeting at Brooke Army Medical Center. On Oct. 1, 2019 BAMC will transition under DHA command and authority. (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards)

We have the potential to create the very best healthcare system ever

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | MHS Transformation
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 7

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.