Update: May 1, 2013 Patients should rest assured that it is safe to get a colonoscopy at any Piedmont location including Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and the clinics of Digestive Healthcare of Georgia at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, Piedmont Fayette Hospital and Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. All Piedmont facilities across the system have been using proper cleaning processes and continue to do so.
The only patients who should be concerned are those who received letters because they had a colonoscopy at our Piedmont West Surgery Center (on Howell Mill Road) between May 18, 2011, and April 17, 2013.
Since the outpatient surgery center at Piedmont West opened in May 2011, Piedmont performed nearly 17,000 colonoscopies across the system. The approximate 450 of those performed at Piedmont West represent less than 3 percent of all colonoscopies performed by Piedmont.
April 30, 2013: Statement regarding sterilization procedures
A recent assessment of the cleaning process on scopes used in colonoscopies at the Piedmont West Surgery Center determined that recommended guidelines had not been followed.
While the Surgery Center staff has been diligent in cleaning the equipment with enzymatic soap after every use, the recommended final step of soaking the equipment in a high-level disinfectant did not occur. We sincerely regret and apologize for this situation and have taken the necessary steps to ensure this does not happen again.
As a result, we have contacted 456 patients who received colonoscopies at the facility, and voluntarily reported these findings and the actions we have taken to rectify it to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Our research indicates that the risk of transmission is less than one in 1 million (lower than .000001 percent chance) and as of today, no patient has reported problems. However, we believe the right approach is to be overly cautious. We have offered testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as well as physician counseling at no cost to the patients who are impacted.