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Olympus Recalls Defective Duodenoscopes After 100 Superbug Infections Linked to Device

Patients who suffer serious and potentially life-threatening conditions after undergoing surgical procedures involving a duodenoscope may be entitled to compensation. Roughly 85 percent of these devices are manufactured, marketed, and sold by Olympus. Recently over 100 patients suffered infections from an antibiotic-resistant “superbug,” commonly referred to as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). There have been three deaths linked to the defective devices. Olympus has finally initiated a recall of the surgical scopes, but this is too late for many affected patients.

Duodenoscopes are flexible tube-based cameras that surgeons can use during procedures to see inside the human body without having to make large openings in the body. They are equipped with a light and are commonly used to help surgeons diagnose conditions in the pancreas and bile ducts. After the outbreak of superbug infections, however, it was discovered that the scopes have a design defect that makes them virtually impossible to effectively sanitize between uses. This means that bacteria from one patient was easily transferred to subsequent patients, despite the surgical staff’s attempts to sanitize the scopes. According to some reports, Olympus was aware that the devices were incapable of being sanitized effectively in 2012, but it failed to inform the medical community about the potential dangers. More specifically, a Congressional report concluded that the medical device maker did not meet the FDA’s basic requirements of transparency and openness in dealing with the superbug outbreaks related to its devices.

To correct the issue, Olympus has made some modifications to the tubing on the duodenoscope as well as providing new and different instructions regarding how to effectively sanitize the devices between uses.

Although this may address the issue, there is still a chance that surgical staff and nurses may fail to appropriately sanitize the devices, subjecting the next patient to serious infections and risks. Ensuring that staff are trained appropriately on how to handle, sanitize, and prepare any medical equipment used in surgical procedures is a serious consideration and part of a hospital’s duty of care to its patients. According to Massachusetts law, medical professionals have a duty to exercise reasonable care in treating and diagnosing patients. The standard of care is informed by the generally accepted medical procedures and practices adopted by other medical professionals in the same locality who are treating patients with the same conditions.

If you have recently undergone a surgical procedure involving a duodenoscope, and you became ill shortly thereafter, you may be entitled to compensation from Olympus. At Moll Law Group, we have litigated numerous defective medical device claims and understand the complexities and challenges of these types of claims. Large corporations typically have substantial resources to address claims brought against them and rarely have patients’ best interests in mind. If your infection resulted from a medical professional’s lack of due care, we can also assist you with bringing a medical malpractice claim against them. We can help you conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and seek justice for the injuries that you suffered. Representing clients throughout the U.S., including in California, Texas, New York, and Illinois, we offer a free consultation. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.

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