UCSF Alerts Urology Patients to Equipment Issue

A Statement from UCSF Medical Center

UCSF Medical Center has notified 471 patients whose bladders were examined this year at its Outpatient Urology Practice on the Parnassus campus that a step was inadvertently omitted in the cleaning of equipment used in their procedure.

These patients were notified that, as a result of the missed step in the cleaning of the instrument, called a flexible cystoscope, they face the extremely low possibility (less than 0.1 percent chance) that they were exposed to blood-borne viral pathogens including, potentially, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

UCSF’s practice is to be extremely cautious and transparent in issues affecting patient care, and so informed the patients involved about the incident this week. UCSF is offering blood testing to these patients to ensure they weren’t exposed to an infection.

UCSF is following all regulatory and legal protocols. It notified the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health.

UCSF recently learned that over a five-month period this year, the flexible cystoscopes used at the clinic were inadequately reprocessed. Only those patients who underwent procedures performed between Jan. 23 and June 26, 2015, were affected.

The flexible cystoscope, which has lenses like a microscope, allows physicians to examine the inner surfaces of the urinary tract. It is used to examine possible medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections and incontinence, among others.   

UCSF is committed to providing high-quality and safe health care to all its patients. UCSF apologized for this incident and offered patients affected blood tests and counseling. UCSF also established a call center with a help line and assigned a dedicated nurse and physician to respond to questions and concerns for the patients involved.