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Contaminated Medical Scopes Sicken Patients

The doctor’s office should be one of the cleanest places there is, where patients do not have to worry about harmful bacteria. But despite requirements to properly sanitize medical equipment, at least 300 patients have been sickened by bacteria linked to contaminated medical scopes.

Dirty Scopes Cause Illnesses

According to an article published in The Seattle Times discussing a memo released by U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (D-California), there were up to 350 cases of life-threatening bacteria causing patient illnesses between 2010 and 2015, at more than 41 hospitals across the nation. Lieu told reporters that he believes the numbers are actually much higher than those reported, as “because no one is getting tested.”  

How Scopes Become Contaminated

From a medical perspective, scopes are incredibly important tools. These fiber-optic contraptions are used to find tumors and diagnose internal blockages by being threaded through patients’ digestive tracts. Of course, following the use of the scope, hospital procedure requires that it be sanitized. Improper sanitization may lead from the bacteria of one patient being passed to another.

Who Is to Blame for Life-Threatening Infections?  

According to the article cited above, healthcare professionals claim to be sanitizing the devices per the manufacturer’s instructions, and therefore claim that it is not a problem with sanitization, but “fault with the devices themselves.” Whether or not this is true, however, is debated, although it may be a combination of both. In fact, the scopes – specifically, duodenoscopes, have a mechanical tip that is used to drain blockages. The tip can be extremely difficult to effectively clean, and bodily fluids may remain within the devices’ parts and crevices even when cleaning instructions are followed to a T. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has stated that it will keep the devices on market due to their medical necessity. Lieu has proposed legislation that would enhance regulations surrounding the cleaning of the devices.

When a Patient Acquires a Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI)

HAIs are incredibly serious, and some patients may experience extreme adverse events, even death, as a result. If you or a loved one has acquired an HAI that you believe was due to improper sanitation of a medical device, you may have a claim for damages. Your lawsuit may name both the hospital responsible for sanitization of the device, as well as the device manufacturing if it can be proven that defective design or manufacture made the device impossible to properly clean.

Reach Out to Our Team Today

The experienced New Jersey and Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys of the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. representing victims who have sustained an illness or harm that would not have been caused but for negligence. To learn more about your rights under the law, how to file a claim, and the types of damages you may be able to recover for your harm, contact our law firm today by calling 866-236-4230.

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