UCLA Infection Outbreak Raises Questions for Olympus
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death attorney. A deadly “superbug” infection is continuously linked to Olympus’ duodenoscopes following a minor procedure. The infection affected 7 patients at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, 2 of which eventually died.
Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases following defective medical equipment have been taking place all over the globe from 2012-2016. Only after four years of infections did Olympus finally recall their scope that had been manufactured with a design flaw that was leaving bacteria in small crevices of the scope. These infections spread from patient to patient even when the scope has been properly cleaned. In hospitals all over the nation, like UCLA, hundreds of patients have suffered from infection unnecessarily because of this design flaw.
Like many hospitals, patients were admitted to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for a minimally invasive procedure called an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). During this procedure a flexible tube is guided down the GI tract by a physician from the mouth to the small intestines to diagnose and treat very serious problems such as cancer and stones in a bile duct. This is not a surgical procedure and each scope is reprocessed or cleaned and sanitized between each patient.
Then why all the infections?
These weren’t just any infections but fatal infections that cannot be cured by readily available antibiotics. This particular drug-resistant infection linked to the duodenoscopes is called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. Another more commonly known antibiotic-resistant bacteria is Staph infection or MRSA. These superbugs, as they are often called, are very difficult to recover from and some patients never do with life-long side effects or death.
Ongoing Investigation of Scopes
The duodenoscope was modified last year in an attempt to reduce the risk of spreading harmful, and possibly deadly, bacteria to patients as it has in the past. This particular scope with model number TJF-Q180V was voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer, Olympus, in January 2016 after several complaints from hospitals around the world of bacteria outbreaks. Unfortunately, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was one of many hospitals to suffer from this flawed scope. Around this same time, 11 of 16 people infected were reported dead at the Pasadena’s Huntington Hospital from the same duodenoscope. We are seeing cases with these defective medical device continuing today as more information becomes available. Just last month a woman won a case against Olympus for the wrongful death of her husband in Seattle and it won’t be the last. While the majority of duodenoscopes are designed to be cleaned properly and should not lead to infection, if you are in need of an ERCP, discuss with your doctor about the scope used in the procedure and the possible risks and benefits. Make sure proper infection control and cleaning procedures are up-to-date to calm any nerves. Also know the signs and symptoms of infection to always be on the look out for any defective medical products that your body may be rejecting. Some medical products must be kept from being able to do more damage than they already have.
Additional Resources by Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer, Ed Smith:
Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith and I am a Sacramento wrongful death attorney. If you or someone you love has been injured or passed away from a defective medical device, please call me at (916) 921-6400, for free and friendly advice. I can also be reached toll-free at (800) 404-5400.
Many factors in medicinal law claims are time-sensitive and my office is ready to guide you through this process and help with any questions you may have.
My Past Verdicts and Settlements page also shows my history of assisting people who have suffered personal injuries. This history allows me to be a member of the Million Dollar Forum, an association of top performing lawyers with million dollar verdicts.
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