Medical scope manufacturer Olympus finds itself in hot water over the potential to spread deadly bacterial infections with its devices. Recent findings link the design of the company’s video colonoscope with an increased risk of spreading deadly infections. While the video colonoscope could transmit almost any bacterial infection if it cannot be properly sanitized, there is a particular concern about its ability to spread antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” such as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).

If you became ill after a colonoscopy procedure or believe you might have been exposed to a bacterial infection because of a dirty colonoscope, you may be able to file an individual lawsuit or join in a class action suit or mass tort against Olympus. At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., our defective medical device attorneys understand what it takes to pursue this type of claim and recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-550-0000 for a free consultation and case review with an Olympus video colonoscope bacterial infections lawsuit lawyer.

How Does the Olympus Video Colonoscope Spread Bacterial Infections?

A video colonoscope is a thin device doctors use to examine a patient’s colon during a colonoscopy procedure. Because of the design of this product, there is a high risk that tissue, bodily fluids, and other materials will stick in small crevices after a procedure. This can occur whether or not the clinic or hospital follows the manufacturer’s instructions for sterilization. If the hospital or clinic cannot properly clean the video colonoscope, the device will expose the next patient—and any subsequent patients who receive colonoscopies with the same device—to dangerous bacteria.

These scopes could pass almost any kind of bacterial infection present in a person’s bodily fluids, but there is a particular concern with CRE. Experts have linked the design of another Olympus product, the duodenoscope—a similar device doctors insert into a patient’s mouth—with fatal CRE outbreaks across the country. CRE is incredibly difficult to treat, and often deadly. This is especially true for seniors and those with weakened immune systems—often the same people who might undergo colonoscopy procedures.

If you or a loved one experienced a serious bacterial infection after a colonoscopy with an Olympus product, contact our attorneys as soon as possible. You could be eligible for compensatory damages, including payment for your medical treatment and drug therapy, compensation for your lost wages from work, and reimbursement for your suffering and emotional distress. If a loved one died due to a CRE infection, we may be able to pursue the manufacturer for wrongful death damages.  

What Do I Need to Know About the Olympus Video Colonoscope?

Used to perform colonoscopies primarily for routine colorectal cancer screenings, these Olympus video colonoscopes are an everyday tool for routine examinations in many clinics and hospitals. Unfortunately, Olympus may have made similar design flaws as those present in its duodenoscope, putting patients at an increased risk of a serious infection.

The Olympus duodenoscope, according to a report from the FDA, exposed almost 450 patients at more than two dozen hospitals nationwide to dangerous bacteria between January 2010 and October 2015. This includes more than 400 people who suffered serious bacterial infections.

At the same time, Olympus knew about the potential link between its duodenoscopes and these infections. In fact, in July of 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported company executives exchanged emails acknowledging the issue, but instructed executives based in the U.S. not to issue warnings about these scopes despite dozens of deadly infections across Europe.

While it is clear much of the blame in these cases lies on the executives of Olympus, the FDA has also tried to ensure all hospitals and clinics have proper procedures in place to deal with the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on non-disposable medical scopes and other reusable devices. In 2016, it issued new guidelines for sanitizing duodenoscope and colonoscope systems to reduce the risk of spreading infections among patients.

What Is the Current Status of the Olympus Video Colonoscope Bacterial Infections Lawsuit?

The lawsuit against Olympus for its video colonoscope bacterial infection risk is in the very early stages. In June of 2017, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled the lawsuit could proceed. Right now, there are 25 claimants involved in this suit. The attorneys representing the claimants expect the group to grow to 300 or more and hope to receive class action certification. All current claimants underwent a colonoscopy between June 2012 and April 2013 at Baystate Noble Hospital. The suit names Olympus and the treating hospital as defendants.

While none of the current claimants in the case involving the video colonoscope died as a result of their illness, they can still look to the first Olympus duodenoscope case to see the potential of their claim. In this 2017 case, Olympus paid out $6.6 million to the hospital where the outbreak occurred. It also paid an additional $1 million to the surviving family of a man who died of CRE during this outbreak. Many of the cases related to this type of scope are still in the early stages, as well.

There is still time to file a claim if you believe you suffered an illness or exposure to a bacterial infection because of one of these defective scopes. You need to act quickly and contact us as soon as possible so we can evaluate your case and help you file for compensation. We may be able to file an individual lawsuit or join a class action on your behalf.

Talk to an Olympus Video Colonoscope Bacterial Infections Lawyer

The mass tort legal team from Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., can help you understand how these cases proceed and guide you through the process. The best way to find out if you qualify to file a claim against Olympus based on the company’s defective video colonoscope is to give us a call today at 800-550-0000. We offer complimentary consultations and case reviews, giving you a chance to discuss your case with one of our skilled lawyers for free.