Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it.

Frances Lear

Dedicated team restores surgical supplies

July 11, 2014

Misericordia MDRD helps patients get care they need now

Diligence and hard work of staff allow surgeries to commence only five days after all surgical items deemed unusable

14 Jul11 Misericordia MDMR Team

Water stains slowly spread on the roof tiles of the sterile warehouse of the Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD) in the Misericordia Community Hospital on July 4, after a ceiling pipe began to leak due to heavy rain.

What would normally be a leak clean-up turned into an all-hands-on-deck situation when staff realized the water damage had made every stored and prepared surgical item in the sterile warehouse for the hospital unusable.

76 carts, 40 filled with operating room instrumentation and 36 filled with supplies like gauze, gloves, sponges and needles would have to be replaced—as soon as possible—to cause the least interruption in surgical services. Trevor Small, Senior Director of Operations, Ambulatory, Rehabilitation Medicine, Surgery and MDRD, Covenant Health, likens it to starting a brand new MDRD in a hospital, a task that could take weeks to months. Covenant Health staff made it happen in just five days.

“This is one of the worst nightmares an operating room (OR) program can face; instruments and supplies were crippled, not to mention we had nothing to send to the rest of the hospital. We had no precedent to go on, but by using basic MDRD standards, we were able to rebuild. I can’t even put into words how thankful and proud I am of staff for their dedication and team spirit.”

Misericordia MDRD staff, MDRD staff from the Grey Nuns Community Hospital, OR nurses, Senior Leadership and Human Resources all pitched in. They ushered carts, unpacked instruments and hand washed them, sent them through a disinfector, reassembled them into sets and then put them through a sterilizer and repackaged them into surgical sets and placed them onto the carts, which had to be relabeled and sterilized as well.

As more and more materials were resterilized, Trevor and his team devised a way to fit an enormous sterile storage room full of instruments and supplies into a smaller cart marshalling room, while still making the area usable for staff. Everything was completed in record time and met the highest safety standards. Each surgical set will now be double-checked for sterilization and correctness.

Fatima Kovalenko is a Surgical Reprocessor/Technician who arrived at work on Sunday to help. It was her first experience replacing the entire inventory, and according to Fatima, physically, it wasn’t easy, but leadership set up a “work circuit” so everyone shared the load. “In any situation like this—a critical one—you give all of your knowledge and all of your strength. After how well our team worked to solve this, I think we could handle anything!” says Fatima, who goes on to explain that it’s in situations like this her team can really show off what they’re capable of.

Trevor Small agrees, smiling with pride while he speaks about how his team came together and accomplished such a great feat with unwavering team spirit and positivity.

 “No one I know of in any operating room has gone through what we have by losing our entire sterile warehouse. It only took us 72 hours from notification to decontaminate all supplies and 100 hours for every surgical set to be repackaged,” says Trevor, a precedent never been set before, his team is taking their learnings and ensuring other Covenant Health facilities can solve any similar issues—according to Trevor, they now have a model for contingency planning allowing them to turn their worst case scenario around in only five days.