Feb 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:41 AM EST

Dirty Scopes Infect A Lot Of Patients — Study

Jan 14, 2016 08:00 AM EST


The Duodenoscope is a flexible lighted tube inserted through the mouth (esophagus) and stomach of a person to have a visual examination of the top of the small intestine called duodenum. A recent investigation revealed that tainted duodenoscopes are the reason for various cases of a potentially deadly infection among patients all over the country.

A report commissioned by Sen. Patty Murray, a committee's ranking member of the Senate Commission on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, revealed a staggering number of 250 new cases of scope related infections following the group's yearlong investigation on antibiotic-resistant infection linked to medical devices. The study revealed that during the time period of 2012 to 2015, reported cases were at least 25 incidents of antibiotic-resistant infections related to medically specialized duodenoscopes.

These incidents lead to 250 patients getting sick all throughout the world, with most of them occurred in U.S hospitals. This number is more than double the amount of 142 cases that were found by the federal Food &Drug Association or FDA back in 2010.

The new statistics included the outbreak that took place in Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center between 2012 and 2014. During this time, at least 39 people got infected and 18 of them died due to the contamination that they received from multi-drug resistant infections spread by the medical scopes they used.

Investigation showed that these duodenoscopes may not have been properly cleaned despite following the manufacturer's directions for its sanitation. In a recent statement released by Sen. Murray, she stated that patients being able to trust the devices included in their treatment to make them better is of utmost importance.

However, the committee's investigation revealed otherwise as they found out how the current policies of monitoring the safety usage of medical devices can actually put the patient's life at risk. Sen. Murray referred to the 18 deaths recorded in Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center as tragedies that could be prevented.

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