Do you know someone that is a victim of the Superbug Outbreak?

Many people have heard news reports about the current superbug outbreak. Many people however, do not know that this superbug may have been caused by medical equipment that was improperly cleaned before use on multiple patients. Approximately, 500,000 Americans have procedures known as Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography or ERCP every year. These procedures use scopes that have been linked to the superbug or an infection that is resistant to antibiotics known as Enterobacteriaceae or CRE. If you or someone you love has been a victim of this superbug, then you should speak to one of our personal injury and defective device lawyers with the Higgins Firm. We will review your case and help you to get the compensation you need for what you have been through.

What exactly is the Superbug?

The superbug also known as carbapenum-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE is a collection of bacteria that is highly resistant to antibiotics. According to the Center for Disease Control, CRE infections or superbugs typically occur in nursing homes, other healthcare facilities and hospitals. CRE infections can be deadly and one out of two patients can die from the infections or problems associated with them.

How is Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography or ERCP linked to the Superbug?

This procedure is used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the liver, bile ducts, and pancreas. It is used to help with stones, tumors and blockages. It is a common procedure for people with pancreatic or colon cancer. These procedures use scopes that can go into the stomach, throat, or intestines. These scopes are made to be used with several different patients. After using one of these scopes, it is supposed to cleaned and properly sterilized before use on another patient. However, these scopes have many small parts and openings that make it extremely difficult to make sure they are cleaned thoroughly. If any tissue is left on the scope from a previous patient, this can cause contamination which can lead to the superbug or CRE infections.

Who makes these medical scopes?

There are a few companies that produce and sell these medical scopes, however, Olympus sells about seventy percent of them and the ones they make have been directly linked to the superbug outbreak. Beginning in 2010, Olympus changed the design of their scope and replaced it with the Q180V model. This new model had a sealed section of the device which was intended to make it harder to retain bacteria that could lead the spreading of infections. These devices are contaminated with the superbug or CRE because the complaints against the device claim that they are defective. The complaints state that even with the seal of the Q180V model, bacteria can still get into the device. Also, the seal on the device does not allow for it to be easily cleaned because it is inaccessible. This means that it is actually more likely to spread infections such as CRE.

Olympus started selling this Q180V model scope in 2010, but the Food and Drug Administration did not realize until 2013 and 2014 that the company failed to ask the Administration’s approval before putting the device on the market. Olympus did not ask for permission until the Food and Drug Administration requested it last year.

How can a personal injury attorney help me?

Hospitals and the makers of medical devices are not required to report infections or problems with medical devices to the Food and Drug Administration. This means that it is not known exactly how many people developed CRE after having an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography procedure. In February of this year, the Food and Drug Administration was notified of seventy-five reports of scopes that gave bacterial infections to one hundred and thirty-seven people.

If you or someone you know had an ERCP procedure and then developed CRE or if you had this procedure and feel you may be at risk, it is important that first you seek medical treatment to find out if you are at risk of this deadly infection. Then, you should contact one of our experienced and compassionate personal injury and defective device attorneys with the Higgins Firm. We will answer any questions you may have and work with you to make sure you receive any compensation you may be entitled to for what you have suffered.

Please contact us today online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your legal options.