As I wrote last month, a serious outbreak of a drug resistent superbug discovered in hospitals in three major American cities linked to a device not sufficiently sterilized but used in certain endoscopic procedures has resulted in sickness and in some cases death. Just last week, February 14, another hospital in a major city reported an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, the aforementioned deadly superbug.
NBC News reported one hundred and seventy-eight patients at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center were informed that they may have been exposed to CRE during an endoscopy procedure whereby flexible tubes that carry a camera and other equipment are inserted into the body through the mouth. This procedure has infected seven UCLA Medical Center patients and contributed to two deaths. The patients who were exposed to infection were offered home testing kits that are to evaluated by the University of California at Los Angeles hospital system. The possible exposures occurred sometime between October 3 and January 28, during procedures in which this specialized endoscope is used to identify and treat pancreatic and bile duct diseases.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the UCLA hospital system determined that after an internal investigation in late January, CRE may have been transferred to patients by two of seven scopes currently being used by the hospital. All scopes were manufactured by Olympus Medical Systems Group. Details surrounding the deaths, and the conditions of the other five infected patients have not been disclosed. Meanwhile the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new warning to be on the alert for these endoscopes that are proving difficult to sterilize and as such linked to this newest outbreak this time in Los Angeles.
With more of these cases surfacing, it’s imperative for all patients in every city in the country to be diligent when undergoing certain endoscopic procedures. If you have had an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or any other endoscopy and subsequently became ill, you should immediately seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact Attorney Michael Pence to schedule your free consultation.