The Known Risks of Contaminated Duodenoscopes
As the number of patients who were treated with contaminated duodenoscopes continues to grow, researchers are learning more and more about the dangerous effects of these devices. If you or someone you know has suffered serious complications after undergoing an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), file a free case review to see if you could be entitled to financial compensation.
What is a Duodenoscope?
Duodenoscopes are flexible tubes that are used in ERCPs. The tubes, which have many small parts, are threaded through the mouth, throat, and stomach into the top of the small intestine where it can treat and/or diagnose problems in the pancreas and bile ducts. When the scopes and their small parts are not cleaned and disinfected properly, tissue or fluid can remain on the scope while it is used in another patient, which can cause serious infections.
What are the Risks of Contaminated Duodenoscopes?
As the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is learning, there are a myriad of infections that can be caused by contaminated duodenoscopes, including “superbugs,” or dangerous bacteria that is often resistant to many antibiotics.
One superbug is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. CREs are a family of germs that are highly resistant to antibiotics, making infections present with these bacteria extremely difficult, or in some cases, impossible to treat. The Center for Disease Control cites a study that found CRE can contribute to death in up to half of the patients who become infected.
In 2015, the USA Today reported that seven patients in a Seattle hospital died after being diagnosed with infections related to contaminated duodenoscopes, including five who were diagnosed with CRE. Although these particular deaths are not solely blamed on the antibiotic-resistant infections because the patients were also suffering from other ailments, the lid has been lifted on the potential for deadly bacteria to be found on scopes at numerous hospitals across the country.
Can I Take Legal Action?
No one should expect to be given a possibly life-threatening infection after seeking treatment for a different issue. Patients who seek treatment or diagnoses from doctors and hospitals put a certain amount of trust into these facilities and their staff members for fair, safe treatment. If you or a loved one has undergone an ERCP or other endoscopic procedure, you may have been exposed to contaminated duodenoscopes. Click here to file a free case review and have your claim examined by an experienced product liability attorney who will look at the details of your case and help determine your best course of legal action.