Contaminated medical scopes have led to the deaths of 35 people in the United States. The scopes were made by Olympus Corporation after an official with the company told American executives not to warn hospitals "about potentially deadly infections from tainted medical scopes," according to a new report.
Tokyo-based Olympus Warned European Customers After 24 Infections Were Reported
Two dozen infections were reported in Holland and France caused by a scope made by Olympus, but the company decided not to warn U.S. hospitals. When the chief manager for market quality administration in Tokyo was asked about a similar case in a Pittsburgh
hospital, the answer was, "Although it is not need[ed] to communicate to all the users actively, you should communicate with the user who has asked a question." The email continued, saying that Olympus had completed a risk assessment and the risk was determined
to be acceptable.
Design Flaw Makes Scope Difficult to Clean
A design flaw makes the duodenoscope difficult to properly clean before it is used on the next patient. The scope is used on about 700,000 patients in the U.S. each year. It is put down a patient's throat to diagnose problems such as blockages in the bile
duct and cancers.
It has only been since January that Olympus recalled the scope in the U.S.
Federal Investigation Underway in New Jersey; Patient Suing Olympus
A court case has been filed in Pennsylvania by a patient. A federal investigation is also underway in New Jersey by federal prosecutors. Olympus would not comment on the lawsuits, saying that they don't comment on pending litigations. However, another
article reported Olympus' statement: "Patient safety is our top priority. The duodenoscope issue continues to receive the highest level of attention at Olympus, and we remain committed to working with the proper authorities and our stakeholders to understand
and address the potential root causes."
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured Due to a Contaminated Olympus Scope?
If you or a loved one have suffered because of a contaminated
Olympus scope, you may have a right to seek compensation. To learn more, contact and experienced personal injury or medical malpractice attorney. He or she can advise you of your legal options.
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