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Medical Device Company Ordered to Pay for Death Caused by Contaminated Scope

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Sep 15, 2017

In 2016, the medical device manufacturing company Olympus recalled thousands of its medical scopes, which are small devices that are used to look at the inside of the esophagus and stomach. But while the recall was certainly necessary, it came much too late for some people. By the time the Olympus scopes were recalled, 16 patients in a Southern California hospital had already been sickened – 11 of those patients died.

Theresa Bigler, who alleges that her husband’s death was caused by an infection that stemmed from a contaminated Olympus scope, was the first plaintiff whose case against the company went to trial. On July 25, 2017, the jury reached its verdict: Olympus was ordered to pay $6.6 million to the hospital where the outbreak occurred, and ordered to pay $1 million to T. Bigler and family. Here’s what you need to know about the defective medical devices and this case–

Lawsuits Against Olympus Continue to Grow

According to an article published by MedScape, Richard Bigler was one of at least 35 patients (in the United States) who died after being contaminated by an infection linked to the medical scopes. As a result, more than two dozen families across the United States have brought forth lawsuits, although Bigler’s was the first to go to trial.

While the jury’s decision to order Olympus to pay the hospital and family a combined $7.6 million may open doors to other plaintiffs who have lost family members in a similar manner, it is unfortunate that the jury found that the design of the scope was “not unsafe and did not contribute to” the death of Mr. Bigler. However, the jury did find that Olympus failed to provide adequate warnings about the scopes or how to use them correctly, leading to Bigler’s attorney calling the settlement a win for victims and their families.

Investigations Continue

As mentioned above, there are more than two dozen pending lawsuits that have been filed against Olympus for negligence and fraud. In addition to this, federal investigators have opened their own set of investigations. Olympus claims that its scopes were completely safe to use, and the outbreaks stemmed from hospitals’ failures to properly clean or use the devices.

What You Should Do If You Have Been Affected by a Contaminated Medical Device

All infections are unpleasant, and most have the potential to be deadly in the worst of cases. But superbug infections are especially concerning, as these bacteria are resistant to traditional treatment methods.

If you have contracted an infection as a result of a contaminated medical device in Philadelphia, or if you have lost a loved one due to a superbug infection, our lawyers can help. Both device manufacturing companies and hospitals and those who work within them owe patients a high duty of care – when this duty of care is breached and a patient suffers significant harm as a result, the at fault party should be held liable. To learn more about your rights, contact our experienced medical device litigation attorneys today.

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