Another Superbug Found at LA Area Hospital

Another antibiotic-resistant 'superbug' was found at Los Angeles-Area hospital where some of the patients contracted the disease that has been linked to a type of medical scope and infected dozens people around the United States. Huntington Memorial Hospital released in a statement to public health authorities after several patients who had procedures using the Olympus Corp duodenoscopes were found to have the resistant pseudomonas bacteria. The hospital quarantined the scopes while it investigates whether they may be linked to the infections. They didn't claim how many patients were infected. 


This problem was discovered in June when three patients were infected. Drug-resistant bacterial infections around the country have been linked to contamination of the reusable scopes which are used for a procedure known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiolancreatography. 

These fiber optic scopes are put down a patient;s throat during the procedure. They help diagnose and treat gallstones, blockages and cancers of the digestive tract. 

Most patients who experienced the bacterial growth were very ill before they underwent the scope procedure and the risk of the it was explained to each patient and family, claimed the hospital's statement. Other medical centers including UCLA's Ronald Reagan also reported infections earlier this year. The hospitals have claimed that infections even though were the devices had been cleaned to the manufacturers standards. Since then, they claim more stringent disinfection procedures. 

As the market leader, the Olympus scopes account for 85% of sales according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA posted a warning letter online that said Olympus waited almost 3 years to alert regulators to a cluster of 16 infections in patients who underwent the procedures with the scope. 

Additionally, FDA inspectors found that the company has no standard procedure for promptly reporting serious problems with its devices, a requirement for medical device companies.

The FDA also posted warning letters Monday to two other scope manufacturers citing problems with the testing, design, reporting and quality control of their devices.