A lawsuit was recently filed against the medical scope that was linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant superbugs at the UCLA Medical Center. Although the most recent issues with the scopes were reported earlier this month, it seems that previous reports of problems with the devices had been reported almost six years ago. The exact type of device incriminated in this outbreak was also connected to an unreported antibiotic-resistant bacteria outbreak which occurred six years ago. Of the 70 patients who were infected with the dangerous bacteria strain, 15 lost their lives battling the infection.
The devices in question are produced by Olympus, the UCLA Medical center states.
Now, the family of a deceased patient who died in November has filed a lawsuit against the producer of the medical devices. According to a Bloomberg report, the deaths reported in various other US states were also linked to the same type of medical scope which has now been linked to the outbreak of a superbug called “CRE”(which stands for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae). Thus far, two people have already lost their lives as a result of the infection, while health officials fear that as many as 179 people may have also been exposed to the bacteria.
In the meantime, Pete Kaufman has filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of Aaron Young, 18, another patient who had contact with the medical devices produced by Olympus and is now hospitalized as a result of his infection. Kaufman claims that Olympus was not only negligent but also fraudulent after the duodenoscope (the device in question) had already been involved in previous superbug outbreaks.
A duodenoscope is a device which doctors use in order to view the gastro-intestinal tract when searching for pancreatic, bile duct or liver diseases. The Bloomberg report states that the same time of scope had been involved in superbug outbreaks in 2008 and 2009 in Florida. Despite the fact that the outbreak had been reported not only to the FDA, CDC and the device manufacturer, recent statements made by the FDA insist that no records of the outbreak exist.
“We are aware, via a search of medical literature, of cases of CRE at two hospitals in the Tampa area during that time,” Leslie Wooldridge, FDA spokeswoman said.
Later, other outbreaks were also reported in Seattle (2012), when 11 patients out of the 32 infected died; in Philadelphia, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
A letter issued by the Food and Drug Administration then warned health professionals that the Olympus-manufactured scope may indeed prevent effective cleaning. Sources report that the fact that the device contributed to transmitting bacteria from one patient to another was already clear.
The company declined to comment on the two lawsuits, however, it did release a statement for America Tonight, underlining that any endoscope, duodenoscope included, requires carefull cleaning and reprocessing before being fit for repeated use. Their device, the company added, Olympus TJF-Q180V, requires “meticulous cleaning” in order to be ready for use.
Kaufman believes that further defendants may be added to the lawsuit as UCLA and the University of California may also wish to become involved.
Image Source: 10 News
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