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Sheffield Teaching hospital NHS Trust suffers infection outbreak

Two operating theatres at the Royal Hallamshire hospital had to be closed as a result of over 20 patients developing serious wound infections.

Concerns were raised when a link was found between a number of patients, who had recently had knee or hip replacements, who then developed deep wound infections. The decision was made to immediately close the two theatres where the procedures had been conducted to determine the cause of the bacterial contamination.

The hospitals facilities were inspected by an expert from the Health Protection Agency to help investigate the cause of the infection and the ventilation systems and medics were given the all clear. An ante-room, which is shared by the two theatres, might be an area of concern and investigations are still being carried out to see if this is the area where the infections could have originated.

This comes at a time when NHS Trusts are under increasing scrutiny to ensure their wards and theatres are sterile and free from contamination. Medical director Dr David Throssell said

“We cannot be certain that any particular infection is connected to the theatres in which the operations were carried out, because the potential to acquire an infection is a recognised complication of joint replacement surgery, regardless of where the operation is performed”

Measures have been taken to make alternative theatres available to patients for joint replacement surgery which have also included attending a nearby hospital.


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