Detroit News Reporters Talk About Breaking Story About DMC Scandal and Dirty Equipment

Laura Weber Davis, WDET

A disturbing report emerged last week from The Detroit News that illustrated filthy and contaminated hospital equipment at the Detroit Medical Center. The investigative report showed DMC hospitals have a much bigger problem with unsterilized tools than most any other hospital around.

Reporters Karen Bouffard and Joel Kurth write:

The records show improperly sterilized tools complicated operations from appendectomies and brain surgeries to cleft palate repair and spinal fusions. Patients were kept under anesthesia for up to an hour as staffers replaced instruments. Dozens of operations were canceled at the last minute, some after anesthesia was administered.

At least twice a child’s chest or skull was open for surgery when doctors discovered dirty instruments. In January 2015, open-heart surgery for a 7-month-old girl was interrupted at Children’s Hospital of Michigan because a tube leading to a bypass machine was clogged with blood from a previous operation.

Kurth tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson that significant union issues in the sterilization department of DMC where union employees were protected though the signed off on dirty instruments and even were found to be stealing from the DMC.

Kurth says the fallout from DMC over the report has been interesting.

It seems very muted… they’re not really denying it,” says Kurth. “If I can read between the lines, it appears they are acknowledging there’s a problem.”

What can fix these problems at DMC and help the hospital repair the relationship with the public?

Certainly the investigation… is a very good first step,” says Bouffard. But she says there’s still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of reporting.

Kurth says it would also help if some answers were provided by former DMC head and current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who has been radio silent on the issue.

Mike Duggan was CEO for a long period of time during this… and I think he could shed some light on what’s going on over there,” says Kurth.  

To hear more of the conversation click on the audio player above.

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