LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The superbug bacteria blamed for a deadly outbreak last month at UCLA Medical Center has been linked to four patients infected at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, hospital officials said Wednesday.
Cedars-Sinai officials have reached out to those four patients and 67 others who underwent endoscopic procedures any time between August of last year through this February. They’re offering free home-testing kits to determine whether they may have been infected with CRE, a bacteria resistant to the antibiotic carbapenem.
One of the four patients infected with CRE has since died, but Cedars-Sinai says that person died from an “underlying disease and not from CRE, as their CRE infection had cleared.”
The duodenoscope that was used on the patients has been located and is no longer in use. The hospital is also utilizing enhanced sterilization techniques on the scopes used in their endoscopic procedures.
The FDA has acknowledged that the devices can be hard to clean, but says pulling the devices off the market would prevent people from getting life-saving procedures.
Dr. Diana Zuckerman, of the National Center for Health Research, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the cases point to underlying issues with the medical devices, which are commonly used in hospitals.
“Number one is, the process is much too easy and devices are allowed to be sold that haven’t been really proven to be safe or effective,” Zuckerman said. “The second problem is that even when a company gets caught not properly testing its products…the company just gets away with it.”
UCLA officials announced last month that seven of its patients had been infected with the superbug from a similar medical device, and two had died. The hospital also notified 179 other patients that they may have been exposed. UCLA also announced they’d be stepping up their endoscope sterilization procedures beyond manufacturer’s standards.
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