Defective Endoscopes Caused Infection and Deaths

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Contaminated medical scopes have killed 35 people in the United States and caused serious bacterial infections in dozens of other patients. The duodenoscopes were made by Olympus Corp. and were used in special endoscopic procedures, known as ERCP. The procedures are designed to detect and treat tumors or other blockages of the bile ducts of the pancreas and gallbladder. About 700,000 patients undergo ERCP each year in the U.S.

Medical Scope Manufacturer Knew About Deadly Flaw

While Olympus Corp. recalled the duodenoscopes in Jan. 2016, they were first introduced to the market in 2010. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times revealed that Olympus executives at the company’s Tokyo headquarters knew there was a problem with sterilizing the scopes, but told executives in the United States they did not need to warn hospitals of the problem. This cover up led to deaths and serious infections that could have been prevented.

How a Scope Spreads a Superbug

Endoscopes are flexible tubes with lights and a tiny camera that are inserted down a patient’s throat and allow doctors to see and biopsy areas in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. A design flaw in the Olympus scope makes it very hard to clean before it is used for the next patient. Even when hospitals follow all sterilization instructions, it is possible for bacteria to still be left on the scope.

The bacteria that has caused severe illness and death is called carbapenum-resistant enterobacteriacaea (CRE). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CRE bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and may cause death in up to 50 percent of patients who contract the bacteria.

Have You Experienced an Infection or Lost a Loved One?

If you have suffered a serious carbapenem-resistant bacteria infection or lost a loved one after an endoscopic procedure, you should talk to an experienced attorney to determine if you have a case. The product injury attorneys at Ward Black Law in Greensboro understand medical product lawsuits and can help you determine if you have a case and your rights to compensation.  Schedule a free consultation or call us at (877) 256-1214 so we can review your case.


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