First Lawsuit Filed in UCLA Superbug Outbreak

UCLA OutbreakThe recent superbug outbreak affecting patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is now the subject of its first lawsuit. We previously reported on the outbreak, which involves a potentially fatal bacteria that has spread to at least 7 patients – two of which have died –through the use of an Olympus endoscope at the hospital. Now the Los Angeles Times reports that an 18-year-old patient is suing Olympus Corp. of the Americas, maker of the controversial scope.

The patient, who is still in high school, remains at UCLA after receiving multiple treatments involving the scope in October and January. He is being treated for a CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) infection and will likely remain under medical supervision for the foreseeable future. The infection is highly resistant to antibiotics, and can be fatal to as many as 50 percent of people exposed to it.

What We Know So Far

According to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the device maker is liable for negligence and fraud. The suit alleges that the latest scope model failed to provide “an effective and validated reprocessing protocol.” More specifically, Olympus is accused of providing outdated cleaning instructions to hospitals and physicians, while fully knowing that the complex design of the new scope makes it extremely difficult to clean.

Olympus Under Fire

This is just the latest development in the growing Olympus controversy. As we previously reported, the device maker is currently under federal investigation for possible violations of laws that ban improper payments to doctors and other customers. Olympus has not commented on the lawsuit, but previously said in a statement that the company is closely monitoring the situation.

A spokesperson for UCLA has confirmed that, since the discovery of the outbreak, UCLA Medical Center has switched to a more rigorous gas sterilization method of cleaning. No additional infections have occurred, but as many as 179 patients may have been exposed to the bug since October.

Have You Been Affected?

Nadrich & Cohen is closely monitoring all new developments in this unfolding situation. Have you suffered an injury resulting from an ERCP procedure involving an Olympus Q180V duodenoscope at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center? Specifically between October 2014 and January 2015? If so, contact Nadrich & Cohen for a free, confidential consultation. You may be entitled to compensation, but you must act quickly. Call us today at 31

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