Superbug Outbreak in Endoscopy Patients Linked to Device

Bacterial Infections After Endoscopy

Officials at UCLS Ronald Reagan Medical Center have linked patient infections of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), an antibiotic-risistant superbug, to the Olympus TJF-Q180V duodenoscope.

The medical community refers to CRE as a “superbug” due to its difficulty of treatment. Roughly 50 percent of those infected with CRE will die from the infection.

CRE Treatment & Prognosis

One of the main problems in treating the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae superbug is that the symptoms will reflect the infected organs. For example, if a patient’s kidney is infected by CRE a person may have flank pain. In other patients, a urinary tract infection may be the first symptom.

Because of the vague symptoms, diagnosis can be difficult, making treatment even harder.

Like most bacteria, the superbug bacteria mutates as it multiplies. CRE is resistant to carbapenem, which is generally used to treat severe cases of infection. CRE is made up of Escherichia coli, or E.Coli, and Klebsiella, a bacteria that can cause pneumonia or blood infections.

Medical experts have said that CRE can even be harder to treat than other notorious infections including MRSA, C. Difficile, and Clostridium Difficile.

Typically, older antibiotics are used to treat CRE, and new studies have shown a combination of drugs has increased survival rates a small amount.

Outbreaks Of Superbug Related To TJF-Q180V

The outbreak of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae outbreak occurred at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center during the months between October 2014 and January 2015.

According to The Los Angeles Times, a second superbug outbreak was discovered at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in March 2015. About four patients were infected with the superbug via the Olympus manufactured scopes.

Now, more and more hospitals across the country are linking infections to this particular Olympus duodenoscope model. Reports of CRE linked to the Olympus Duodenoscope have been made in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida.

Duodenoscope Found Impossible To Adequately Clean

Olympus and other duodenoscope manufacturers failed to prove the scopes could be cleaned properly, even when following their own instructions. The FDA released additional techniques that could be used to clean the devices, but stated that the technique may be unrealistic for some hospitals.

In January of 2016, Olympus issued a voluntary recall for thousands of scopes. The company plans to redesign the scopes in an attempt to diminish the chance of passing on harmful bacteria.

Defective Device Lawsuits & Legal Options

In February 2015, three lawsuits were filed against Olympus Corp of Americas in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Both lawsuits claim the medical device maker was fraudulent and negligent in making the difficult-to-clean scopes, which led to the superbug outbreak.

Experts expect more lawsuits to be filed as more patients and families are notified of this dangerous superbug and the scope that may have led to their infection or death.

Use of an unsafe and unapproved endoscope device can lead to a Superbug infection. If you or your loved ones were infected by CRE after undergoing an Endoscopy procedure, call our office at 314-444-4444 right away for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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