Behind the Scenes @ Henry Ford: Sterile Processing

Many are not aware of the enormous support provided behind the scenes at a major medical center such as Henry Ford Hospital.

Let’s take one area: sterile processing.

You may have different ideas about how such a large operation sterilizes equipment used for surgery and other procedures to ensure protection from contamination and infectious diseases.

Some may have a concept similar to what is used in a small facility, like a dentist’s office or even a barber shop, with multiple small sterilizing units.

Henry Ford Hospital’s central sterile supply department requires large amounts of high-pressure steam generated from a boiler room. This is what the steam intake valve looks like:

Sterile Processing Intake Valve

It provides pressure regulation to support three large autoclaves (sterilizing units).

The valve alone costs $10,000.

When you think about the miracles produced in our operating rooms – after thinking about the skilled surgeons and nurses, the robots, and the exquisite procedures – remember that none of it happens without steam, the valve, and the two men in this picture (as well as many other behind the scenes men and women).

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