Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Unclean endoscopes may lead to Chicago medical malpractice


A recent study, presented at an annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, has yielded a disturbing fact: 15 percent of endoscopes are not properly cleaned before being used on patients. This could lead to patients receiving infectious diseases, and health care practitioners may be vulnerable to a Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit.

Endoscopes are used to examine colons and gastrointestinal tracts. "Bio dirt," which is composed of cells and other biological matter, may remain on the endoscope, if it is not properly cleaned. Researchers stated that they examined endoscopes from five hospitals across the country, and found that three of 20 devices were not properly cleaned. While this may seem like a small number, the consequences may be tremendous.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that outbreaks associated with blood borne diseases have been attributed to endoscopes more than with other medical devices. This has forced thousands of patients to undergo testing for possible hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus, as these diseases can be spread via contact with infected body fluids. Untreated hepatitis can lead to liver damage, while HIV, in its final stage, can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS.

In lieu of the recent study, Chicago and Cook, Illinois, residents should be wary of medical devices as well as the practices of health care practitioners. While there will always be constant innovations in medicine, cleanliness, safety and efficiency should still be the optimal concern. Patients who sustain injuries or complications due to medical negligence may wish to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

A medical malpractice claim, which also covers failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis and medication errors, seeks to hold negligent parties accountable. At the same time, the lawsuit may entitle patients to compensation. Typically, compensation coverage includes loss of wages, emotional distress and medical expenses. In the event that medical negligence causes the death of a patient, the estate of the family may still hold a party liable, and obtain compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: News Inferno "Study: Endoscopes Not Always Appropriately Cleaned," Cynthia A. Diaz-Shephard, June 21, 2013.

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