Superbug outbreak may be a warning that hospitals are not following proper procedure

Superbug outbreak may be a warning that hospitals are not following proper procedure

Nevada residents want to be able to receive potentially life-saving medical procedures without the risk for adverse events. These events, which a Reno medical product liability attorney and others call never events, are associated with hospital negligence, defective medical products and doctor errors.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that seven people contracted a superbug, known as CRE, at a hospital in Los Angeles after a procedure involving the use of a contaminated medical scope. The hospital put out a call to about 170 other individuals who might also have been exposed. Two of the patients who contracted the superbug have died.

Hospital errors in cleaning medical equipment

The hospital claims that it followed the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the instrument. However, it should be pointed out that over the last couple of years, numerous patients have been exposed to superbugs and infections due to improper cleaning of hospital equipment. Last year, ABC News reported that a Seattle children’s hospital staff did not follow cleaning protocol on colonoscopy instruments, exposing 106 patients to possible infection.

In Atlanta, Georgia, CBS46 reported that in 2013, a local hospital failed to put colonoscopy equipment through the final cleaning cycle. The error required the hospital to notify over 450 people that they may have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis.

A Reno medical product liability attorney may also recall that the same year a study involving flexible gastrointestinal endoscopes revealed that as many as three out of 20 of these instruments were not cleaned correctly. The study, which was conducted by the 3M Infection Prevention Division, examined five hospitals in the U.S. and determined that hundreds, if not thousands of patients, could be at risk of contracting serious illnesses such as hepatitis B and C.

Hospital negligence leads to infections

The Nevada State Health Division’s Bureau of Health Planning and Statistics is the state’s agency responsible for maintaining the Sentinel Events Registry. Medical institutions are required by law to report any events such as the acquisition of a CRE infection and submit to an immediate investigation. According to the Sentinel Event Report for 2013, there were 1,268 sentinel or never events in the state, and nearly 900 of these instances of patient harm were hospital-acquired infections.

That same year, an outbreak of hepatitis C was linked back to a Las Vegas doctor who was reusing syringes at his clinic, Reuters reported. The doctor’s actions led to nine patients becoming infected with hepatitis C and exposing another 105 people to the disease. At least one patient died and the doctor was convicted of second-degree murder.

A Reno medical product liability lawyer may be able to help those who have suffered from negligence that occurred in a health care setting. Responsible parties should be held liable for medical costs and pain and suffering.