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Contaminated Medical Equipment May Be Responsible for Multiple Infections and at Least Two Deaths

Specialized endoscopes are routinely used to diagnose and treat both pancreatic and bile-duct diseases. Though single-use, disposable equipment has been advocated by some experts, the multiple-use endoscopes requiring sterilization after each procedure are generally employed. Despite careful compliance with manufacturers’ sterilization instructions, however, the equipment is frequently found to harbor bacteria that were not removed during “sterilization.” According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the endoscopes’ design may prevent adequate cleaning.

dirty medical toolsHospitals nationwide have reported infections with an antibiotic-resistant bacterial “superbug” in dozens of patients who have undergone endoscopies with this equipment, which is suspected to have contributed to at least two deaths. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), superbug infections can result in death in half of infected patients.

Defective medical equipment has the potential to cause serious injury and death. The Killino Firm has extensive experience with cases arising out of injuries caused by defective medical equipment or other products. If you have been injured or made ill in this manner, contact our attorneys for more information about your legal rights and options.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Illnesses and Deaths Caused by Defective Medical Equipment?

Medical equipment that is defective in its design, manufacture, or warnings may lead to the liability of equipment manufacturers and other entities involved in the equipment’s production and distribution for injuries and deaths determined to have been caused by the equipment defect. A reusable endoscope that requires sterilization to protect patients from injury or death may be found defective in design in a products-liability personal-injury or wrongful-death action if the product design hinders effective sterilization.

A manufacturer’s warnings or instructions regarding the use and/or sterilization of reusable endoscopes may also be found to render the product defective if a consumer’s explicit following of the instructions does not make the product reasonably safe for the consumer’s use. The reusable endoscopes, which are manufactured primarily by Olympus Corp, Fujifilm Holdings Corp., and Pentax, may be found defective both in their design and in their instructions regarding equipment sterilization, as the design itself makes the equipment difficult to clean properly and the equipment-cleaning instructions are inadequate to accomplish their purpose.

Though the sterilization instructions included with these endoscopes was approved by the FDA, the equipment may still be found defective under products-liability law and Medical Malpractice law. Medical equipment may also be found defective despite the manufacturer’s compliance with industry standards. In addition, a hospital that negligently uses defective equipment may be found liable for resultant injuries or deaths.

Obtain Legal Assistance from The Killino Firm, P.C.

The Killino Firm Philadelphia is nationally recognized for its dedication to obtaining justice for people who have been injured or killed due to defective and dangerous products. If you have been injured or one of your family members has died through exposure to a defective product, The Killino Firm can help you secure the justice you deserve from the responsible parties.

The Killino Firm's highly experienced and dedicated team of personal injury, defective products, and wrongful death lawyers and paralegals, headed by attorney Jeffrey Killino, represents clients throughout the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area in a wide variety of personal injury and wrongful death matters.
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Date published: 07/23/2015
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