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Contaminated Scopes Suspected in Three Additional Fatalities

Contaminated scopes at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena may be behind an outbreak that left three patients dead. According to the hospital’s report to federal officials, the medical center informed medical device maker Olympus Corp. of the deaths. Hospital officials said they believed publicly reporting the deaths would violate patient privacy laws. Medical safety expert Lawrence Muscarella said hospitals have an ethical obligation to tell the public of deaths due to a suspected outbreak.

The Pasadena case is particularly noteworthy because it involves a different scope than the one recalled by Olympus in January. This could potentially mean that a larger number of patients that previously believed were exposed to contaminated duodenoscopes.