Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria SUPERBUG which has been linked to a type of widely used medical scope. The latest cases came out of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where four patients were infected with the superbug. As with most infections, it is only a matter of time before we see these cases in Kentucky.
Two weeks ago, a similar cluster of cases was reported at UCLA Medical Center, where seven patients were infected with CRE after undergoing endoscopic procedures, two of whom later passed away.
Some cases of CRE are linked to difficult to disinfect medical scopes, made by Olympus and other companies, combined with the failure of the facility to adequately disinfect these scopes. The bacteria cause infections in the bladder or lungs and kills up to half of the patients infected. This is an incredibly high kill rate comparable to Ebola. Those patients most at risk are children, the elderly, and patients with compromised immune systems. This is considered a health-care associated infection (HAI).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received reports of 135 patients in the U.S. who may have been infected by contaminated scopes between January 2013 and December 2014. The agency has acknowledged that the design of the scopes can make them hard to clean, but it said pulling them off the market would deprive patients of this beneficial and often life-saving procedure.
The CDC has a CRE toolkit which hospitals and healthcare facilities should follow to prevent these devastating infections. The problem occurs when hospitals and long term care facilities fail to follow the CDCs advice.
If you or a loved one has suffered from CRE, or any hospital associated infection, please contact a qualified attorney to help get yourself or your loved one assistance, and also to hold these facilities accountable in order to prevent such harm to future patients.