DMC vows to rebuild trust amid instrument investigation

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The Detroit Medical Center has issued a statement to the community in its first detailed public response since The Detroit News revealed the system’s Midtown hospitals have been plagued with dirty surgical devices.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our care and the trust of our community,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Suzanne White in a letter on the medical center’s website.

“It is especially personal for me as nearly every member of my family has received care at one of our hospitals. Our more than 12,500 colleagues know that our work is both a privilege and a responsibility; one we take to heart knowing that each person we care for is someone’s mother, father, son, daughter or friend.”

An investigation by state and federal regulators was launched after The News reported the results of a six-month investigation regarding the handling of surgical instruments at the five hospitals located on the DMC’s Midtown campus, which have put patients at risk for more than a decade.

Dirty, missing instruments plague DMC surgeries

Problems stemmed from the medical center’s central sterile processing department in the basement of Receiving Hospital, which cleans all of the surgical instruments used at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the Receiving, Harper University, Hutzel Women’s and Heart hospitals.

The system hired Unity HealthTrust of Birmingham, Alabama, in late May to run its sterile processing operation. The move was announced the day after The News first inquired about the department's sterilization issues.

White said the DMC is committed to regaining the community’s confidence in its Central Sterilization Processing Unit.

“We took a significant step in June when we brought in a leading CSP management company to implement best practices gathered through 45 years of experience,” she said. “Working together, we have begun to make many changes in key areas of performance. We will continue working with our physicians and staff to improve CSP efficiency and performance while keeping our intense focus on patient safety at the heart of it all.”