Multiple stories from major news outlets are finally drawing attention to terrifying outbreaks of a drug-resistant infection that has killed or sickened hundreds. The most recent outbreak in California at the University of California Los Angeles is just the newest epidemic to be associated with the same device.
The device, called a duodenoscope, is inserted down a patient’s throats during a variety of tests and treatments. Without proper sterilization, bacteria collect on the device, and passed to the next patient. The most common bacteria transmitted on this particular device is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. This type of infection is potentially fatal.
Hundreds of patients have been infected across the globe, including:
- 16 patients in France in 2009
- A large outbreak in Pittsburgh in 2012
- A massive outbreak across multiple hospitals in Tampa in 2013
- A two year outbreak in Seattle that left 11 head
Sadly, the solution to these outbreaks has been known for at least a few years. Once hospitals switched to a stronger method of sterilization involving ethylene-oxide, new infections did not occur. So many illnesses and deaths could have been prevented. The FDA is still in the process of evaluating how to deal with these outbreaks. While those decisions are made, infections continue to occur frequently at UCLA.
Antibiotic-resistant infections continue to become more common, with more than 2 million new cases per year, and at least 23,000 people die from these illnesses. If you or someone you love has become infected due to hospital negligence, please contact an attorney. Pressure must be put on hospitals and other medical facilities not to cut corners when it comes to disinfecting their equipment, and an experienced lawyer will know exactly how to apply that pressure.