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Risk of negligent operating room staff using dirty equipment

| Jul 15, 2015 | Surgical Errors

Patients in Newton who are negatively affected by a mistake during surgery might be under the impression that it is limited to the improper use of medical equipment, surgery performed on the wrong body part or even a piece of surgical equipment mistakenly left in the patient. One mistake that is substantially egregious is if there is the use of dirty equipment when performing procedures. This happens more frequently than most think. An outbreak of illness earlier this year in Los Angeles brought this issue to light since it is believed to have been the result of a lack of cleanliness of the equipment.

The illness, referred to as a “superbug,” is called CRE. Two people at a hospital died and five more were infected. From October 2014 to January 2015, approximately 179 patients were exposed to the illness after receiving a particular procedure. The belief from investigators centered on the likelihood that medical equipment was not adequately sterilized. The equipment that is used in this procedure is complex and can be hard to clean.

While this was a recent incident, the worry about improperly cleaned equipment has been prevalent for years and has occurred across the country. A report from NBC showed that medical facilities have long been having problems with dirty equipment. Nearly 11,000 veterans in the south were given colonoscopies or endoscopies from 2002 to 2009 with equipment that was not cleaned correctly. In Las Vegas in 2008, at least six people were infected with hepatitis C because, in part, of the reuse of forceps that were only supposed to be used a single time.

In 2011, there was a workshop conducted by the Food and Drug Administration in which some facilities asserted that the newly complex designs of certain instruments made it difficult for them to be sterilized properly. While medical professionals and facilities will unavoidably come up with numerous reasons why people become sickened due to equipment that was not cleaned adequately, that does not eliminate the responsibility of a negligent operating room staff or a careless surgeon from making sure equipment is sufficiently clean. Those who might have been made ill or even lost a loved one because of improperly cleaned equipment need to understand how to move forward with a lawsuit with help from a legal professional.

Source: Yahoo, “LA superbug outbreak calls new attention to dirty surgical instruments,” Gordon Witkin, Feb. 23, 2015


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