Panish Shea & Boyle LLP Files First Lawsuit Against Duodenoscope Manufacturer Olympus Relating to Superbug CRE Infections

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On February 23, 2015, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP filed the first CRE superbug lawsuit against Olympus America, Inc., Olympus Corporation of the Americas, and Olympus Medical System Corporation (collectively, “Olympus”) relating to the CRE “superbug” infection that was spread among Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center patients as a result of the manufacturer’s TJF-Q180V Duodenoscope.

CRE, which stands for carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceaecontanim, is a dangerous infection that is resistant to antibiotics and can kill up to half of those that contract it.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 18-year-old young man who was infected with CRE when he underwent multiple procedures with a contaminated Olympus Q180V Scope at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in October 2014 and January 2015.  He is currently hospitalized.

The complaint alleges that, because the Q180V Scope was designed and intended for repeated and recurrent use in multiple medical procedures and on different patients, it necessarily requires cleaning and disinfecting – known as “reprocessing” – before it can be used on a new patient.  Olympus, as a manufacturer of the medical device, had an obligation to develop and validate an adequate reprocessing protocol, and provide sufficient instructions to users on how to safely prepare the device for the next patient.  The complaint contends that Olympus failed to take these critical steps with the Q180V Scope and instead provided medical facilities and physicians with a safety cleaning protocol for an older endoscope, with a significantly different design.  As a result, end-users were not able effectively to sanitize and clean the newer Q180V Scope and the devices were left contaminated after use, exposing patients to a significant risk of infection and other injuries.

The complaint, filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges claims against Olympus for Negligence, Products Liability, Negligence, Fraud – Intentional Misrepresentation and Fraud – Negligent Misrepresentation.

Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represents several patients who have been infected with CRE after medical procedures in which the Q180V Scope was used.  UCLA has reported that there are seven known cases of CRE infection, including two that resulted in the death of the patients.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to the CRE infection during a procedure at UCLA, call Peter Kaufman or Kevin Boyle at 31-477-1700 or contact the firm here for a free consultation.

Click here to see February 25, 2015 Los Angeles Times Article