Minneapolis VA says 'unidentified substance' on equipment was a cleaning agent

The Minneapolis VA Medical Center will resume surgical procedures Friday after putting them on hold Wednesday when an "unidentified substance" was detected in the hospital’s sterilizing equipment. In a statement on Thursday, officials confirmed it was a cleaning substance that wasn’t fully washed off.

Some surgeries did continue as scheduled VA staff utilizing other sterilizers that were not impacted. Some cases were referred to the University of Minnesota and Hennepin County Medical Center. Impacted patients were being contacted Wednesday.

Minneapolis VA Medical Center statement

“Evaluation of the material in our main sterilizers indicated it was a residual of a cleaning product that had not been fully rinsed.   The sterilizers have been inspected and certified as ready for use by the manufacturer.  The Minneapolis VA will resume a full operating room schedule Friday.  We are reviewing our process  to ensure the full rinse of cleaning products is accomplished according to manufacturer standards.  This was a one-time event; patients were never at risk.  The safety of our patients is always our number one priority.”