Product News and Recalls

4 Patients Sickened by Contaminated Duodenoscopes

hospital-acquired infections are on the riseFour patients have acquired infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to an article by the Science Times. The discovery comes two weeks after two patients died and an unknown number were infected at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. All six patients were likely infected by contaminated duodenoscopes.

The hospital-acquired infections were reportedly caused by the same “superbug” that broke out at the UCLA medical center: a highly antiobiotic-resistant strain of bacteria known as Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE). CRE infections are difficult to treat and often mean death for those infected. According to the CDC, CRE are commonly transmitted by contaminated medical devices like ventilators and catheters.

As with the UCLA outbreak, the hospital-acquired infections found at Cedars-Sinai are suspected to have been transmitted by contaminated duodenoscopes, a type of medical device used to diagnose and treat cancer and gallstones. Some duodenoscopes have drawn criticism for their design, which makes it difficult to completely disinfect them.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center believes that no other patients are at risk; however, to be thorough, they have sent home-test kits to 67 other patients who underwent procedures to diagnose pancreatic and bile-duct problems. Like the Ronal Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai has since implemented stricter sterilization procedures.

Despite evidence of improvement in recent years, hospital-acquired conditions remain an ongoing problem in U.S. health care facilities. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have estimated that 1 in 25 hospitalized patients acquire an infection, and roughly 722,000 hospital-acquired infections result in or contribute to 75,000 deaths each year in the United States. Although the federal government has implemented a penalty system to help reduce rates of hospital-acquired conditions, medical experts say more can and should be done.

The attorneys at Lopez McHugh are dedicated to protecting the health and rights of hospital patients. If you believe that you or a loved one acquired a hospital-related infection from an antibiotic-resistant outbreak, or from a duodenoscope, contact our lawyers for a free consultation. You may qualify for compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.