PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A patient recently treated at Maine Medical Center has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative brain disorder caused by an infectious type of protein, a prion center confirmed Friday.
This comes after hospital officials learned earlier this week the patient appeared to have the rare condition. The National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (NPDPSC) at Case Western University provided the confirmation.
Maine Med officials say a transmission of the disease in a hospital setting is extremely rare, with no confirmed incidence of such transmission in more than 20 years. Despite this, they say, the hospital took extraordinary steps to assure patient safety.
According to the hospital, 150 elective surgery cases were rescheduled Wednesday and Thursday, while the hospital decontaminated surgical equipment and facilities in accordance with CDC guidelines.
MMC Chief Medical Officer Joel Botler said hospital officials thought it was important to go above and beyond to assure the safety of the hospital's patients.
"Now that we know this case is confirmed, we can see that our response was 100 percent appropriate and that patients should feel confident in the safety of their care at Maine Medical Center," Botler said.
Hospital officials say the hospital is now looking at types of procedures performed and instruments used to determine which patients should be specifically contacted because they were treated prior to the initial pathology report showing a patient with the disease.
"We are in the process of reaching out to the small number of patients who we think should be notified based on the details of their specific case," Botler said. "Let me be clear: only a small number of patients who have had surgery at MMC have been exposed to any degree of risk, and that risk is exceedingly low, approaching zero."
Botler said more than 100 MMC employees worked around the clock to decontaminate equipment.
Other Maine hospitals have loaned equipment to MMC in the meantime.
Botler thanked his team, who "responded with the utmost professionalism and dedication," the patients "for their understanding," offering an apology for inconvenience or concern, and fellow colleagues who offered assistance.