A duodenoscope is a specialized endoscope threaded down the throat of patients to treat gallstones, cancers and other disorders of the digestive system. Recently, it was determined that these devices accumulate bacteria that is impossible to remove because of a design defect, causing bacteria and infections to pass from patient to patient. In fact, some hospitals have found it necessary to design entirely new sterilization rooms to try and adequately clean the duodenoscopes. Duodenoscopes have been linked to deadly superbug infections (“CRE”) that resist even the strongest antibiotics and subsequently have been linked to numerous patient deaths. The procedures are often for very common ailments and conditions, but the resulting infections are deadly.
Some problems that have been cited include that these safety issues weren’t addressed quickly enough by hospitals or the FDA and that safety guidance is desperately needed to prevent further deaths. Additionally, European hospitals were warned about contaminated duodenoscopes two years ago, but there is confusion as to why the US wasn’t warned about the potential for superbugs at that time. From 2012-14, patients in at least eight hospitals were infected by bacteria linked to duodenoscopes. In January 2013, Olympus issued “important safety advice” to European hospitals and recommended a specific cleaning brush to help prevent contamination on its TJF-Q180V duodenoscope. Several patients and their families are suing Olympus accusing the company of negligence and fraud in selling and promoting a defective and deadly scope.
Andrus Wagstaff PC is investigating potential claims in regards to serious infections and death as a result of duodenoscope use. If you or a loved one had a duodenoscope procedure and a resulting infection, illness, or death, please contact us using the online form so that we may better evaluate your claim.