The surviving family of a man who died in Washington State has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Olympus Corp. The company manufactures duodenoscopes. The family alleges that the use of this medical device contributed to the man’s death. Specifically, the family claims that the man died from contracting a “superbug” that was present because the device was not properly cleaned. This “superbug” is an extremely strong form of E. coli. This is just the latest in a growing number of duodenoscope infection lawsuits that have been filed against several different manufacturers.
Factual Summary of the Lawsuit
The widow of a man named Richard Bigler filed the duodenoscope lawsuit against Olympus Corp. The lawsuit was filed in Seattle. The plaintiff states that the man who died underwent a procedure that used a duodenoscope manufactured by Olympus Corp. The plaintiff alleges that the device was contaminated with bacteria. The man allegedly contracted a drug-resistant form of E. coli because of the presence of the bacteria. The man died in 2013. His death certificate lists both pancreatic cancer and E. coli as causes of death.
Duodenoscopes and Infections
Mr. Bigler was one of 31 people who suffered a serious infection because of exposure to these bacteria between 2012 and 2014. All of these people underwent procedures using these duodenoscopes at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. The medical facility has also been named as a defendant in this lawsuit. In all, 11 people may have died from this exposure, but many were already critically ill at the time and it has not yet been proven that these devices directly contributed to their deaths.
However, this is hardly the first time that duodenoscope infections have led to public outcry. Approximately 200 other patients who underwent procedures using duodenoscopes at the UCLA Medical Center in California may have also been exposed to this contamination. Several people allegedly became severely ill because of this exposure and two people allegedly died. The problem appears to be tied to extreme difficulty in cleaning these devices even when medical facilities follow the instructions put out by the manufacturers.
Duodenoscopes – A Brief Description
Duodenoscopes are devices that are used for gastrointestinal procedures. They are flexible tubes that are lit that are inserted into the throat and that extend to the top of the small intestine. Once inserted, they are used to help other devices retrieve biopsy samples. Three prominent manufacturers of duodenoscopes include:
- Olympus Corp.
- Fujifilm Holdings Corp.
Some of these duodenoscopes are on the market despite never being fully approved by the FDA for use in the United States.
Duodenoscopes Infection Lawsuits and Your Legal Rights
If you or someone you love has undergone a procedure using this device and you’ve suffered as a result, you need to act now to protect your legal rights. Contact the duodenoscopes infection lawyers at Parilman & Associates today to schedule a free initial consultation. You can either email the firm or call 800-800-DRUG.