A few months after duodenoscope-induced superbug infections at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center made national headlines, a new report of a suspected bacteria outbreak is grabbing media attention. Patients at Huntington Medical Hospital are believed to have acquired pseudomonas bacterial infections after undergoing procedures using duodenoscopes manufactured and distributed by Olympus Corp. A recent story by the Los Angeles Times discusses the ongoing investigation and the medical scope that is suspected to be at the root of the outbreak.
The duodenoscopes at issue are medical devices used to investigate the digestive tract and search for cancers, growths, blockages, and other abnormalities. The devices are reusable and, according to media reports and FDA communications, are designed in such a way that causes bacteria to be trapped in small crevices, usually at the tip of the duodenoscope. This enables the transmission of the bacteria from one patient to another via the reusable devices, causing an outbreak of infections. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that even in situations where the manufacturers’ cleaning instructions have been properly followed, the device may still not emerge from the process completely sterile.
Huntington Memorial, the location of the most recent outbreak, reported the discovery of three infected patients so far. Research continues to try to determine if more cases will be uncovered at the facility. Pseudomonas, the bacteria discovered at Huntington, are a common cause of infections, according to the LA Times and can, if resistant to antibiotics, prove deadly.
The pseudomonas are noted to be similar to CRE; the bacteria identified in earlier California hospital outbreaks. Olympus America, the manufacturer of the duodenoscopes allegedly linked to those infections released updated cleaning guidelines following the CRE outbreaks. The FDA also issued a Safety Communication on the cleaning process in response to the CRE outbreak crisis.
If you believe that you or a loved one acquired a hospital-related infection from a contaminated duodenoscope or other medical device, contact the attorneys at Lopez McHugh for a confidential consultation. You may qualify for compensation through a medical negligence or product liability lawsuit.