Duodenoscope Lawsuit

Duodenoscope Lawsuit
Duodenoscope lawsuit filings have been reported around the country, after the instruments were tied to dangerous superbug infection outbreaks at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center and other hospitals.  Plaintiffs claim that duodenoscope manufacturers failed to provide hospitals with an adequate cleaning protocol that would have prevented the infections.

Duodenoscope Legal Reviews

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now investigating potential legal claims on behalf of individuals who may have been harmed by contaminated duodenoscopes. To learn if you are eligible to file a duodenoscope lawsuit, please contact our legal team by calling (888) 994-5118.

Duodenoscope Lawsuit News:

  • March 2015: Reuters has reported that five duoedenoscope lawsuits have been filed against Olympus Medical Systems Corp over a superbug outbreak at the UCLA medical center. Read More
  • March 2015: The widow of a man who died from an infection that was allegedly transmitted by a contaminated duodenoscope has filed suit against Seattle’s Virginia Mason hospital. Olympus Medical Systems, which manufactured the scopes tied to the outbreak, is also named a defendant. Read More
  • September 2015: An Illinois family has filed suit against Pentax Medical and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, alleging that their mother’s death was caused by a duodenoscope that “had not been properly maintained, cleaned and/or sterilized.” The complaint is the second filed against the defendants involving a patient who died after an endoscopy procedure. Read More

Duodenoscopes: What’s the Problem?

Duodenoscopes are used in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures to diagnose disorders affecting the bile ducts and pancreas. The specialized “side-viewing” duodenoscopes used in ERCP are made with a catheter at the end of the scope that can deploy various instruments to remove gallstones, deploy a stent, or open up a blocked bile duct. The devices were designed to be reusable, and are cleaned and sterilized between patients.

Unfortunately, the moving parts on a duodenoscope’s elevator mechanism include many microscopic crevices that can’t be accessed by a brush. These crevices may hide residual body fluids and organic debris, even after what appears to be a thorough cleaning. In February 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that ERCP duodenoscopes were extremely difficult to sterilize, and linked the devices to bacterial infections in 135 patients.

Duodenoscope Infection Outbreaks

Dangerous superbug infection outbreaks involving ERCP duodenoscopes have been reported at hospitals around the country:

  • January 2014: The Chicago Tribune revealed that an outbreak of CRE (Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae)  had sickened 38 patients at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.  All had recently undergone endoscopic procedures. Read More
  • January 2015: At least 39 patients were exposed to CRE at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle after undergoing duodenoscope procedures in 2012 and 2014. At least 11 died, though it is not clear if the infections caused all of the deaths. Read More
  • February 2015: At least 179 people were exposed to CRE at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. It is believed that the infections contributed to the deaths of two patients.

FDA Cites Duodenoscope Manufacturers

In August 2015, the FDA issued warning letters to three duodenoscope manufacturers – Olympus, Pentax and Fujifilm – that accused the companies of failing to report problems with the instruments. According to several duodenoscope lawsuit filings, the letters suggest that the manufacturers knew for years that their devices were linked to infection outbreaks, but failed to warn the FDA or address the problem.Read More

Learn if You are Eligible to File a Duodenoscope Lawsuit

If you or someone you love suffered a superbug infection following an ERCP duodenoscopes procedure, help is available. To arrange for a free case review, please contact our legal experts by calling (888) 994-5118.

  1. Reuters (March 2015) “Medical Device Company Sued For The Fifth Time Over ‘Superbug’ Infections At UCLA” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/18/superbug-manufacturer-lawsuit_n_6889914.html
  2. Seattle Times (March 2015) “Widow sues Virginia Mason; hospital begins notifying ‘superbug’ victims” http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/widow-sues-virginia-mason-hospital-begins-notifying-superbug-victims/
  3. Chicago Tribune (September 2015) “Family members of woman who died sue Park Ridge hospital” http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/park-ridge/news/ct-prh-advocate-lawsuit-tl-0910-20150904-story.html
  4. FDA (February 2015) “Design of Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) Duodenoscopes May Impede Effective Cleaning: FDA Safety Communication” http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm434871.htm
  5. Chicago Tribune (2014) “Superbug found at suburban hospital” http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-10/health/ct-hospital-bacteria-exposure-met-20140110_1_bacteria-superbug-cre
  6. CDC (February 2015) “CDC Statement: Los Angeles County/UCLA investigation of CRE transmission and duodenoscopes” http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/cdcstatement-LA-CRE.html
  7. Bloomberg (August 2015) “FDA Issues Warning to Scope Makers Over Spread of Deadly Superbugs” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-17/fda-issues-warning-to-scope-makers-over-spread-of-deadly-superbugs
Last Modified: April 13, 2016

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