TOWN OF WALLKILL – Orange Regional Medical Center is still diverting some new emergency surgery cases due to problems with sterilizing hospital equipment, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.
But the hospital remains able to perform emergency surgeries on inpatients. The hospital also is performing inpatient and scheduled nonemergency surgeries based on its surgical equipment inventory and the guidance of its surgeons.
Since Friday, ORMC has been diverting some surgery patients to other providers. ORMC spokeswoman Marcy Manheim did not offer a date for when all surgeries might resume as normal.
The surgery issues are due to the hospital trying to prevent a visible residue from minuscule amounts of a nonbiological agent that first appeared on surgical trays on Friday.
A Town of Wallkill water official has said extensive testing revealed the town’s water is safe, the town made no changes to the water or its treatment, and that any residue is likely from the hospital's pipes or water treatment system.
An Orange County health department leader has said the hospital’s drinking water is safe.
Manheim and ORMC’s other spokespeople have said the hospital is still capable of performing surgeries, and ORMC's water is safe, but that some surgeries are still being canceled as a precaution.
“Orange Regional Medical Center would like to thank our patients for understanding that delays in surgical services are to ensure the safest surgeries and the best patient outcomes,” Manheim said in a statement. “We continue to work diligently with reliable and respected experts in the industry who are on site helping us to identify the source of the sterilization equipment issue and to rectify it safely and efficiently.”
Manheim added that the hospital won’t rest until its equipment “meets the highest quality patient safety standards,” and that ORMC’s sister hospital, Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, is currently helping sterilize ORMC equipment.
“Orange Regional’s operating room leaders are working closely with surgeons to assess upcoming scheduled surgery cases and we are increasing surgery capacity incrementally as we are able to increase sterilized surgical tray inventory,” Maheim said.
ORMC staff recommends that postponed surgery patients talk with their doctors about rescheduling options.