Mass Tort

Contaminated Endoscopes

University of Colorado Hostpital: Deadly E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Contaminated Endoscopes

In early 2016, patients at the University of Colorado Hospital developed infections with E.Coli bacteria following endoscopy procedures.

The Denver Post reported that, of the 19 patients who underwent procedures with the same duodenoscope at CU over a six-week period, nine developed antibiotic-resistant E.coli infections. Three of those patients later died.

The infected patients had all undergone surgical procedures called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). In an ERCP, an endoscope is guided down the patient’s throat and used to examine the digestive system.

The contaminated endoscope used at CU was manufactured by Olympus Medical Systems. Olympus’ scope is “reprocessed” or cleaned after surgery so that it can be re-used. Because of its design, the scope cannot be properly sterilized to eliminate all bacteria, which results in the bacteria spreading from patient to patient.

Lawsuits Against Manufacturer Olympus

If you or a loved one was affected by this outbreak, you may have a legal claim. Burg Simpson is investigating claims against Olympus and other manufacturers of contaminated endoscopes. Contact us by filling out the Free Case Evaluation or calling 303-792-5595 for more information.

Additional Information

The FDA is investigating whether Olympus took proper action to report and correct this problem.
The FDA sent Olympus a Warning Letter on August 12, 2015 stating that the company had failed to properly inform the FDA that patients contracted infections after undergoing endoscopic procedures with the Olympus device. The FDA’s letter states that Olympus knew about the risk of serious infections as early as May 16, 2012. Despite this knowledge, Olympus failed to take steps to warn its U.S. customers of this risk until early 2015.

Read more about the FDA’s ongoing investigation of infections associated

When Olympus learned of outbreaks of infections in Europe, the company alerted European hospitals that its scope may be contaminated. However, although employees of Olympus in the United States asked whether they should notify their U.S. customers, company executives said “No.” As a result, many hundreds of U.S. patients have been exposed to this avoidable risk, including many who were infected and some who died.

Read more about Olympus’ decision to put profits over patient safety.

In addition to the University of Colorado outbreak, hospitals around the country have reported infections linked to contaminated endoscopes.

  • Two patients died and six more were infected by an outbreak at UCLA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria is also a serious threat to public health.

Patients who developed bacterial infections following ERCP procedures with an infected endoscope may have a compensable claim.
Specific bacteria strains can include:

  • E-coli (Escherichia coli)
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • CRE (Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteria)
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • ESBL (Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase)
  • Enterococcus
  • Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
  • Enterobacter cloacae complex
  • Citrobacter freundii ESBL positice
  • Staphylococcus epidermis
  • Sepsis/septicemia

No. We offer clients a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We pay for the cost of obtaining your medical records, any expert reviews, and court filing fees. We only receive reimbursement and a fee for our work if the drug company pays your claim. If you do not receive a recovery, then you owe us nothing.

Act now. Some lawsuits have already been filed. Indecision could mean losing the opportunity to receive just compensation. The time you have in which to file a claim depends on a variety of factors, including the state in which you live.

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