Ross Memorial Hospital is shining a light on the hidden heroes who are as much a part of patient safety as its front line care providers. On Oct. 25, members of the public are invited to meet the Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD) team, the heart of the Ross Memorial Hospital.
MDRD provides the service within the hospital in which surgical equipment and medical devices are disassembled, cleaned, inspected, reassembled, tested, placed in instrument containers or packaged individually, sterilized, stored and distributed for patient care.
It’s not simply a matter of running surgical tools through a sterilization bath. While some tools can be disassembled and run through a washer disinfector, others must be cleaned ultrasonically. In this process, sound waves create vacuum bubbles which burst inward to thoroughly clean the joints and crevices of a device.
There’s also a low temperature sterilizer, which uses hydrogen peroxide to sterilize devices that can’t be exposed to high temperatures, such as telescopes and some batteries.
Other tools must be cleaned manually and then run through a washer/disinfector. It’s up to the MDRD team to know exactly what’s required for each device. It’s meticulous work. For example, the Hassan sheath, which is used for laparoscopic surgery, must be broken down into nine parts to clean it properly.
Every part of the sterilization process must also be documented, from recording each device going into the sterilizer, the sterilizer number, the load number, the date, and the sterilization time to the pressure and temperature of each sterilizer load. This information is verified and initialed by staff for quality assurance.
Once the tools are cleaned, inspected, assembled and tested, they are placed in trays with a chemical indicator that shows the person who uses them next that they’ve been exposed to the sterilization process. They’re wrapped, labelled, sterilized and distributed to the area of the hospital where they’re needed, when they’re needed.
In one month, this 15-member team reprocessed the tools need to perform 139 surgeries, 332 scope procedures, and 145 cataract cases, and cleaned more than 800 IV pumps.
Learn more about the MDRD team and help RMH celebrate the heart of the hospital. Visit the MDRD Open House in the RMH main lobby Oct. 25 between 10 am and 3 pm.