Olympus Duodenoscope Infection Lawyers

Patients Exposed to Deadly CRE Bacteria Through Olympus Duodenoscopes

Pittsburgh-area patients were exposed to an antibiotic-resistant superbug during endoscopy procedures that used Olympus TJF-Q180V duodenoscopes, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The duodenoscope superbug infections are related to a family of germs called carbapenum-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). CRE bacteria are resistant to drugs, including last-resort antibiotics. CRE infections are most commonly transmitted by duodenoscopes, breathing tubes, catheters, and endoscopes.

If you believe that you or a loved one was the victim of a duodenoscope CRE antibiotic-resistant infection, contact our Olympus duodenoscope lawyers to discuss your legal rights. The consultation is free, confidential, and there is no obligation to use our services. Call 412-618-1472.

Hospitals Where Duodenoscope Infections Have Been Reported

At least 16 hospitals in the United States have reported duodenoscope-related superbug infections and possible exposures. These outbreaks have affected hundreds of patients. Affected hospitals include:

  • UMPC Presbyterian—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Allegheny General Hospital—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center—Los Angeles, California
  • Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center—Los Angeles, California
  • Hartford Hospital—Hartford, Connecticut
  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital—Park Ridge, Illinois
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center—Seattle, Washington

What is a Duodenoscope?

A duodenoscope is a small, tube-shaped medical device that is used primarily during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). During an ERCP, a doctor inserts the duodenoscope in the patient's mouth, down the esophagus, and into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).

The procedure examines the duodenum, the gallbladder, the pancreatic duct, and other nearby structures. It's used to diagnose and treat issues related to the pancreas, liver, and bile ducts.

How Do Duodenoscope Infections Happen?

In 2010, Olympus changed the design of its duodenoscope to seal off an internal channel to keep blood and other potentially infectious material out of the scope. Because the scope is reused in multiple patients, the thought was that this "closed-channel" redesign would reduce the risk of infection transmission.

However, investigations found that the closed-channel design was flawed because it allowed dangerous bacteria to remain inside the device even after proper cleaning. When used in other patients, it could spread CRE and other bacteria, leading to potentially life-threatening infections. Superbug bacteria are fatal for 40-50% of infected patients.

Concerns surrounding the safety of Olympus duodenoscopes began in 2013, when staff members at Virginia Mason Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle and at the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital near Chicago linked antibiotic-resistant infections to the Olympus closed-channel duodenoscope.

The FDA didn't begin altering doctors and patients to the potential risks associated with closed-channel duodenoscopes until 17 months later.

Did Hospitals Properly Clean the Closed-Channel Duodenoscopes?

An FDA investigation found that yes, hospitals did properly clean Olympus duodenoscopes. The administration determined that there were no mistakes made during "reprocessing," which is the system hospitals use to clean and sterilize products that are used on multiple patients.

The FDA then requested that duodenoscope manufacturers Olympus, Pentax, and Fujifilm test whether their devices could be properly sanitized. The manufacturers found that they couldn't meet the FDA's standard of eliminating 99.9999% of microbes.

This meant that the manufacturers were selling products that couldn't be safely sterilized for use on patients, raising legal questions about how closed-channel Olympus duodenoscopes made it onto the market and how they remained there for so long.

If you—or someone you know—contracted a CRE infection after being treated with an Olympus duodenoscope, our experienced duodenoscope lawyers can explain your options. You can reach us by phone, online form, or chat.

What an Olympus Duodenoscope Lawyer Can Do for You

If you believe that you or a loved one was infected with superbug bacteria during a procedure that used an Olympus, Fujifilm, or Pentax duodenoscope, contact us. We know what it takes to handle even the most complex cases—our firm has been helping clients since 1982, and we have recovered over $1 billion in damages.

Our legal consultations are free and straightforward. We will ask you questions about your situation, gather information, and review your options. There is no obligation to use our services, and anything we discuss is strictly confidential.

There are a few ways you can get in touch with us, so feel free to choose the way that is best for you. You can call us at 412-618-1472, fill out the form on this page, or contact us via chat.

And, remember: "There's never a fee unless we get money for you."

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