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Another L.A. Hospital Finds ‘Superbug’

On Wednesday, another Los Angeles area hospital revealed that a “superbug” transmitted through duodenoscopes was found in some of its patients.

Huntington Memorial Hospital acknowledged that it had contacted public health authorities after the pseudomonas bacteria was discovered in patients who had used Olympus Corporation duodenoscopes. The scopes have been isolated, but the hospital did not reveal how many patients had been affected–although according to the Los Angeles Times, three patients were found with the bacteria in June.

The duodenoscopes responsible for the transmission of the bacteria are normally used for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, in which the scopes travel down the patient’s throat to examine digestive tract issues.

Huntington Memorial stated, “The patients who experienced the bacterial growth were very ill before they underwent the scope procedure, and the risk of the procedure was explained to each patient and family.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that Olympus accounts for 85 percent of sales of the duodenoscopes involved in the recent incidences of “superbug” transmission.

On Monday, the FDA issued a warning, asserting Olympus waited three years before notifying regulators that 16 infections had been found in patients using the duodenoscopes in 2012. The FDA also warned two other duodenoscope makers about their product.

In March, Olympus sent an urgent update to U.S. hospitals to alert them that the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning duodenoscopes needed to be augmented. That followed the revelations of “superbug” transmission at L.A’s Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.

Eleven people died at Virginia Mason from contracting CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Two patients died at UCLA. At Cedars-Sinai, four patients contracted CRE, with a possible 64 others infected, while one patient later died from “an underlying disease,” rather than the superbug.

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