Scarily, a new superbug may be spreading in America because of contaminated endoscopes or duodenoscopes. The devices may be flawed due to the way they were designed, making them hard to clean.
Recently, the Associated Press reported that officials at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA said that 180 patients might have been exposed to a drug-resistant bacterium from the devices. This news comes after outbreaks have also been reported in Connecticut, Seattle and Chicago.
Due to concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety warning about germs associated with the scopes, which are used in an estimated 500,000 procedures each year. The devices are reportedly inserted into a patient’s throat or stomach and commonly used for biopsies.
The FDA release said that the agency is “closely monitoring” the association between “reprocessed” endoscopes and the spread of bacteria. “Meticulously cleaning duodenoscopes prior to high-level disinfection should reduce the risk of transmitting infection, but may not entirely eliminate it,” the FDA release said.
Last week, the Washington Post had a story about an 18-year-old man from California who was diagnosed with pancreatitis, undergoing a procedure in which a scope was inserted down his throat to test his digestive system. Instead of recovering after the procedure, the teen developed a high temperature from an infection that may end up keeping him in the hospital for months.
The teen’s family has filed a lawsuit against Olympus Corp., the manufacturer of the device involved in his case.
Remember, if a defective medical device injures you, it may be in your best interest to speak to an attorney. Product liability can be based on inattention. Often, lawsuits result from a design defect, a manufacturing defect or a failure of a manufacturer to warn of a product’s danger.
Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP
Sponsored by: Attorney William P. Lightfoot