Tuesday, May 23, 2017
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Tainted Medical Equipment Used in Philadelphia Hospital

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On March 28, Philly.com reported that Crozer-Chester Medical Center was cited using dirty medical equipment.  Surgical staff used an improperly cleaned endoscope during a surgical procedure, leaving the patient open to a potential surgical infection.

Endoscopes are tubular instruments used to look at various organs inside the body without making large incisions. Surgeons often use endoscopes to examine the esophagus and upper intestinal tract, the colon, lungs, ureter, and the small intestine — among other organs.

Earlier this year, the American Journal of Infection Control found that germs, including bacterium, grew on at least 60 percent of endoscopes, even after the instruments went through a rigorous cleaning.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health investigative report, Crozer failed to follow its own policies. The employee involved in the surgery did not know that the instrument could not be reused if It had only been pre-cleaned and did not understand that a high-level disinfection was required before the endoscope could be reused.

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident. However, the article suggests that endoscopes are “notoriously hard to clean” and that the instruments have been linked to numerous surgical infections –some fatal– during recent years. This problem is not limited to endoscopes. Other instruments, when not properly cleaned, can lead to surgical site infections (SSI).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that surgical site infections account for 31% of all hospital acquired infections. Safe Care Campaign estimates that between two and five percent of patients undergoing surgery will develop a surgical infection. Fortunately, Safe Care believes that between 40% and 60 % of SSIs are preventable. Doctors and hospitals need to take the proper precautions to prevent medical mistakes.

Medical malpractice, including surgical site infections and other medical mistakes, is the third leading cause of death among Americans, as reported in a January 2017 Legal Lookout post.  More than 250,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical malpractice. Many more suffer serious injury because of doctor or hospital negligence.

Doctors, hospitals and health care facilities are responsible for mistakes that occur as a result of their negligence. Injured patients and surviving family members should not be left to bear the emotional and financial burden caused by medical malpractice. If you suffered an injury, or lost a loved one due to a medical mistake, contact a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer to preserve your rights.

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