March 3, 2015 — Olympus Corp. has been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of a woman who developed a “superbug” infection after undergoing a procedure with a duodenoscope that was not sterilized.
According to the LA Times, the lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the family of Antonia Torres Cerda.
Olympus, the manufacturer of the “defective” scope, is accused of negligence for selling it without adequate cleaning instructions. Last month, the FDA warned that it “may not be possible” to completely sterilize the scope due to its complex mechanisms.
Olympus is also facing a lawsuit on behalf of an 18 year-old named Aaron Young who is still hospitalized with an infection that was transmitted on an unclean scope. His attorney claims Olympus removed a cleaning channel from the scope in mid-2014, but failed to update the cleaning protocol.
The number of lawsuits may continue to grow as “superbug” infection outbreaks become increasingly common. Last month, health officials at UCLA reported that 179 patients were exposed to antibiotic-resistant carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections, which have up to a 50% fatality rate.
All of the patients were treated with a duodenoscope during a common procedure known as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). About 500,000 ERCP procedures are performed every year in the United States. The patients were treated at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center between October 2014 and January 2015.