DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A senior official at Detroit Medical Center says problems with unclean surgical tools need to be fixed and have caused doctors to cancel procedures.

Conrad Mallett, chief administration officer at DMC, tells The Detroit News that the problems have affected five hospitals on the DMC campus — Children’s, Detroit Receiving, Harper University, Hutzel Women’s and DMC Heart hospitals — which rely on the same department to sterilize instruments.

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“This is something that has to be fixed,” he said. “What we are not is uncaring. What we are not is negligent. What we are is concerned.”

The newspaper says it obtained more than 200 pages of emails and reports on problems with sterilization. In one case last year, heart surgery on a 7-month-old girl was stopped when blood from a previous patient was discovered in a suction tube. The little girl’s parents claim they had no knowledge of the incident until The News contacted them.

Under state and federal law, hospitals aren’t required to tell patients if they were exposed to improperly sterilized instruments.

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One doctor told the newspaper “It’s a surgeons nightmare.”

In a June 2015 email, Children’s Hospital chief surgeon Dr. Joseph Lelli said patients were being put at risk. “Promises just aren’t cutting it,”Lelli wrote in what was his third warning in just six months. Two years earlier, he sent a similar email asking: “Who has the will to solve this problem that has not been solved in the 11 years I have been at CHM?”

In May, an Alabama-based company was hired to take over the sterilization department. Some hospital employees, however, told the newspaper they have yet to see any changes.

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