Elective surgeries resume at Aspen Valley Hospital | AspenTimes.com

Elective surgeries resume at Aspen Valley Hospital

Elective surgeries are back on the table at Aspen Valley Hospital after a near weeklong disruption due to sterilization issues, officials said Thursday.

At approximately 3 p.m. Thursday, the public hospital received clearance that it can resume all types of the surgeries it offers.

"We're actually somewhat giddy," said hospital CEO David Ressler, adding that "we had people here around the clock."

The hospital discovered on the evening of Jan. 25 that a number of its surgical packs had been compromised during their steam-sterilization process, resulting in problematic moisture levels in the packs. Surgeries before that discovery were not affected, Ressler said, while the hospital had a reserve of surgical packs for trauma operations.

The tainted packs meant the hospital had to either postpone or transfer the scheduled elective surgeries until the problem could be remedied. Two orthopedic operations were transferred to St. Mary's Medical Center in Grand Junction, while the Aspen hospital's Midvalley Ambulatory Surgery Center in Basalt handled a handful of other elective surgeries, Ressler said.

The hospital did not take a big hit revenue-wise, Ressler said.

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"It was a minimal financial impact to the hospital," he said. "But what was more important to us was the impact on our patients."

Ressler could not immediately say the cost of having consultants and engineers on the scene for a week.

"It was mostly labor and consulting," he said. "We didn't have to buy any new equipment, and it was almost all plumbing" related.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com