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Endoscopic Superbug Infection

Definition - What does Endoscopic Superbug Infection mean?

More than five-hundred thousand endoscopic procedures are performed each year in the United States. These medical procedures are critical to diagnosing severe medical conditions such as cancer, bile duct conditions, and pancreatic and liver diseases. One of the most common tools used to perform these endoscopic procedures is the Olympus scope.

Manufactured by the Japanese electronics company Olympus Corporation, the Olympus scope is a gastrointestinal endoscope used by medical doctors and hospitals throughout the United States. In fact, the Olympus scope is more popular than any other gastrointestinal endoscope which has led to a 25% medical sales increase last year for Olympus Corporation.

In the last year, however, Olympus Corporation has been in the center of a superbug outbreak controversy plaguing U.S. hospitals. Despite what Olympus Corporation claims are “detailed cleaning instructions,” the Olympus scope and its many components may trap antibiotic-resistant superbugs which can be spread through multiple uses to different multiple patients.

Patients, who have contracted superbugs from endoscopes, including the Olympus scope, have filed suit against the Olympus Corporation. Patients report they have suffered severe injuries from contaminated Olympus scopes, including shock, pneumonia, fever, sepsis, urinary tract infections, and even death.

The lawsuits allege Olympus Corporation did not fulfill their duty to properly warn users about the safe and effective use of their product nor did they provide effective information to medical professionals about its safe use.

Justipedia explains Endoscopic Superbug Infection

The Olympus scope is a complicated and powerful scoping tool. Not only is it expensive, it is also intricately built with tiny stints, guide wires, grooves, and channels not available on other scopes. Proponents of the scope argue that there are currently no good alternatives to the Olympus scope and it is too valuable not to use.

Concerns are growing, however, that the issue of super bugs and their transmission through the Olympus scope may be more serious than initially thought. In fact, the FDA has recently issued a statement reporting that “meticulously cleaning duodenoscopes prior to high-level disinfection should reduce the risk of transmitting infection but may not entirely eliminate it.”


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