LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An 18-year-old patient is suing a medical device maker, blaming the company for the superbug that broke out recently at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and infected at least seven patients and is believed partly responsible for killing two.
Aaron Young filed the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Olympus America Inc., alleging products-liability negligence and fraud. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Young remains a patient at the hospital after being exposed to a tainted scope twice since October, according to court papers.
The lawsuit alleges that the company redesigned its Q180V duodenoscope last year, but no clear method for cleaning it was offered.
“The manufacturer must ensure that the validated reprocessing protocol is disseminated to medical facilities and professionals,” according to the lawsuit. “Olympus failed to take these critical steps with the redesigned Q180V scope.”
Instead, Olympus provided hospitals and doctors with a safety cleaning protocol for an older endoscope with a “significantly different design,” according to the suit.
“As a result, end-users were not able effectively to sanitize and clean the new redesigned scope,” Young alleges in the lawsuit.
Olympus management has known that the complex design of its endoscopes renders some parts of the device hard to access and as a result cleaning them is difficult, the suit alleges.
The suit does not blame UCLA for the superbug outbreak.
UCLA officials have notified 179 patients who underwent endoscopic procedures between October and January that they may have been exposed to the superbug, known as CRE. Hospital officials traced the infections to a pair of Olympus scopes.
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