Superbug Infections

The Nature of Superbug Infections: Superbugs are microorganisms that are highly resistant to antibiotics. One example which has been well publicized is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), whose death rate is as high as fifty percent. Carbapenems are a class of antibiotic used to treat infections known or suspected to be caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, but some infections resist carbapenems.

A superbug infection can originate in a number of ways, but it often occurs after a patient has undergone an endoscopic procedure. An endoscope is a thin tube equipped with a camera and light that a doctor inserts into the patient to evaluate problems in the lungs, joints, colon and small intestine, bladder, rectum, or pancreas and bile ducts.

In 2014 and 2015 several hospitals reported small-scale outbreaks of superbug infections, including CRE; the factor that the patients had in common was that an endoscope had been used.

An estimated 180 or more patients got infected with CRE at UCLA’s Los Angeles teaching hospital. And from June 2001 through February 2002, numerous endoscope procedures at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University Hospital led to infections with the superbug pseudomonas, which is a common cause of skin rashes and ear infections in children. The infection is usually mild, but there are dangerous strains of it.

What Leads to Unclean Endoscopes: Endoscopes pose a hazard because they are difficult to clean. Manufacturers supply cleaning protocols that are often inadequate or outdated; and the devices’ complex designs make them difficult to clean.
The full scope of endoscope contamination leading to superbug infection is not known. Research suggests that 3% of endoscopes remain contaminated after disinfection.

Because endoscopy’s infection risk may have been mismanaged or may not have been communicated to the patient, many victims of superbug infection have sued endoscope manufacturers.

To Obtain Legal Relief: If you or a family member has contracted a superbug infection after undergoing an endoscope procedure, you may have valuable legal rights. Attorney Stephen A. Katz is available at (800) 251-3529 for a free consultation, or for legal representation.