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Wilmington Olympus Endoscope Superbug Infection Attorneys

Olympus Endoscope Spreads Superbug Infection

A number of patients UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center recently reported contracting the CRE Superbug (Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae) after undergoing surgery. The reported CRE Superbug infections prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the root of the problem. The FDA and various medical experts found that the CRE Superbug was being spread through the use of hard-to-clean endoscopes during surgeries, namely through doctors' use of the Olympus TJF-Q180V duodenoscope. While the extent of infection across the United States is not known, experts believe that the Olympus duodenoscope could be responsible for hundreds of CRE Superbug infections as well as the spread of other types of deadly bacterial infections across the country. Now, patients who were infected with the CRE Superbug through the use of the Olympus duodenoscope during surgery are filing lawsuits against Olympus. If you or a loved one developed the CRE superbug following an endoscopic procedure, contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C. today to discuss your legal options.

CRE Superbug

Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are bacteria that are resistant to a class of antibiotics known as carbapenem, which is why medical experts are calling it the Superbug. The CRE Superbug is often referred to as "nightmare bacteria" because it is incredibly difficult for doctors to treat and it kills nearly half of all people who become infected with it. CRE can be transmitted through the use of medical equipment like catheters and ventilators; however, CRE is typically transmitted and spread in health care facilities through the usage of endoscopes that have not been completely sanitized. The Olympus TJF-Q180V has been proven to be especially prone to spreading CRE because it collects germs as they are moved through the esophagus, stomach, gall bladder, pancreas, and other parts of the body, and because it is a very difficult instrument to clean.

If infected with CRE, some symptoms one might experience include:

  • Severe urinary tract infection,
  • Pneumonia,
  • Sepsis or septic shock,
  • High fever and other flu-like symptoms.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms following a procedure in which an endoscope was used, you should notify your doctor immediately.

Olympus Duodenoscope

An endoscope is a long tube with a light and video camera at the end that is inserted into the body for diagnosis purposes and for assistance during surgeries. The Olympus duodenoscope is commonly used in a procedure known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to diagnose and treat medical issues in the liver and pancreas. On February 19, 2015, after outbreaks of the CRE Superbug were reported, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety warning, stating that a particular type of endoscope, known as the ERCP duodenoscope, which includes the Olympus TJF-Q180V, impedes effective reprocessing. Reprocessing is the procedure that medical professionals must go through to clean and sterilize reusable medical equipment to ensure that harmful bacteria are not spread from person to person. The FDA released its safety warning after an engineering assessment found several design issues in duodenoscopes that inhibit reprocessing, including the presence of crevices in the device that may not be reached with a cleaning brush. On March 26, 2015, over a month after the FDA released a safety warning, Olympus finally released updated labeling instructions for the reprocessing of its duodenoscope.

If you developed the CRE superbug or any other infections following an endoscopic procedure you may be legally entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. The Wilmington dangerous medical device attorneys of Rhine Law Firm, P.C. are currently investigating claims on behalf of those who have been infected with the CRE Superbug and other infections following an endoscopic procedure. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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