Townhall meetings set up for patients after sterilization misstep at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital is getting in contact with 135 patients after they discovered a sterilization issue with a piece of surgery equipment.

The equipment was used from August 1, 2017 until January 26, 2018 for gynecological or general laproscopic surgeries.

The sterilization issue in question at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital involved a new piece of equipment. Officials say a new piece of equipment was supposed to be taken apart into two pieces and then sterilized, but that didn't happen.

"During the course of the routine sterilization, a piece came apart at which point we did some digging and determined that that piece was supposed to be taken apart each and every time that we sterilized it," said Christian Meko, Commander of the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.

Meko says that equipment still went through the complete sterilization process, but after learning that the piece needed to be separated, the hospital wanted to be transparent with patients because of the risk of infection, even though they say that risk is low.

"We contacted a number of infectious disease experts across the country with similar experiences, and just ran them through exactly what our process is for general sterilization and what we found," Meko said. "They all concluded that it was extremely low risk the chance that any infectoin would have occured."

Even though the risk of infection is believed to be low, Meko says health officials still worry about infections.

"So, you worry about both bacterial and viral infections. So, if a patient had these procedures and had signs of illness following the actual surgeries, then we would definitely want them to get checked out," Meko added.

Next week, the hospital is going to hold information sessions with those patients to address any questions and concerns they may have.

"We want to definitely assure our patients that we are 100% committed to their health and well-being, and we'll keep them informed as this continues to develop," Meko said.

Those informative town hall meetings for patients will be Tuesday February 13th at 10:30 a.m., and Wednesday February 14th at 1:00 p.m. These will be broadcast Facebook live on the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Facebook page.

Anyone with questions can send them in advance via messenger to the hospital's Facebook page, or call 573-596-9534, where you'll talk to a member of the nursing staff who can answer any questions you might have right now.