« Go back to Blog Index

Olympus Failed to Warn U.S. Hospitals of Infection Risks

According to an article in the L.A. Times, medical device manufacturer Olympus Corp. failed to warn U.S. hospitals of infection risks tied to their duodenoscopes for years. In 2012, the search for the cause of a deadly superbug outbreak at a Dutch hospital led to a contaminated duodenoscope. An investigator determined the scope’s design could facilitate the spread of bacteria between patients. He then issued a report recommending the device manufacturer conduct a worldwide investigation and recall the scopes if similar issues were uncovered elsewhere.

Instead, the L.A. Times alleges Olympus spent the next three years denying its scopes were linked to infections at various U.S. hospitals. Instead, it allegedly blamed the hospitals for failing to adequately clean the devices.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was one such hospital that suffered a scope-related superbug outbreak. An Olympus representative said the hospital was using the wrong kind of automatic washer. However, even after the hospital replaced its cleaning machine with an Olympus model, a scope still tested positive for the bacteria.

Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, another medical center that suffered a superbug outbreak, has sued Olympus for fraud, arguing the company deceptively concealed the device’s potential risks and flaws. A government investigation found the hospital had followed proper cleaning procedures, and that the cleaning instructions were inadequate.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy who died after developing an infection following treatment with an Olympus scope at UCLA have filed suit against the device manufacturer. The family of a North Carolina man who died of an infection in November 2013 following treatment with an Olympus scope have also filed a wrongful death suit against the company.

My heart goes out to all the families who may have been negatively impacted from infections tied to these duodenoscopes. At Walker Advertising, we are always ready to help those who may have been injured by harmful medications or medical devices. If you are an attorney who would like to join our attorney network, please email moreinfo@walkeradvertising.com or call 1-800-4WALKER.