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In recent years, there has been growing awareness of deadly infections associated with the use of gastrointestinal scopes that cannot be cleaned completely. A new congressional investigation shows that the number of potential infections is much higher than originally thought.
Does this mean that you can sue if an infected gastrointestinal scope has been used on you? No. But if you have suffered an injury as a result of an infected scope's use on you and you can prove it, then you certainly have a valid basis for a medical malpractice claim. And you won't be alone -- there are already plaintiffs suing for injury from infected scopes.
Injury Count So Far
About 350 patients at 41 medical facilities in the U.S. and worldwide were infected or exposed to tainted gastrointestinal scopes from January 2010 to October 2015, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The Los Angeles Times reports that these figures are up from previous estimates because a recent U.S. Senate investigation of a longer period of time shows a greater extent of infection than initially imagined.
The FDA supplied the new information in response to an inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. But the agency said it cannot name the hospitals where the infections took place at this point, nor the device manufacturers. It will release more details on the investigation soon.
"It's really disturbing that the number of patients harmed and the number of facilities where this happened keeps rising," said Lisa McGiffert, director of the Safe Patient Project at Consumers Union. "It probably indicates the number will continue to increase as authorities dig deeper."
What You Can Do
If you suspect that you have been infected due to the use of an unclean scope while seeking medical treatment, talk to a lawyer. You may have a medical malpractice claim, although it will likely require some research and investigation. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case and discuss your options.