Medical device linked to deadly bacterium outbreak in hospitals

If you’ve read a lot of our blog posts, then you probably look at news stories very differently than you used to. You may look at a story now and recognize situations where it may be necessary for victims to obtain a lawyer or when a case might lead to litigation. The latest case of two superbug-related deaths on the other side of the country may be no different as it sparks questions about liability and the possibility of personal injury lawsuits down the road.

Many people here in South Carolina may have heard about the deaths of two patients at a UCLA medical center. According to reports, the patients died after becoming infected with the superbug CRE, which is short for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. The infection was linked to a particular endoscope that the Food and Drug Administration is now saying had not been approved by the agency for use on patients.

Although the makers of the medical device have since applied for FDA approval, the damage has already been done, which could leave many across the nation wondering if and how the victims will be compensated.

Because the makers of the device failed to get FDA approval before selling the product, they could be named in a personal injury lawsuit. If the hospital did not check to see if the device was cleared for use and if they failed to properly check for the presence of dangerous bacteria on the device before using it on patients, then they too could also be held liable.

It’s worth pointing out though that reports have not indicated any civil actions at this time, meaning the device’s maker and the hospital have not yet been named in any wrongful death or medical malpractice lawsuits. As frequent readers of our blog know though, such negligence could lead to litigation and eventually compensation for victims affected by this mistake down the road.

Source: CNN, “Deadly superbug-related scopes sold without FDA approval,” Elizabeth Cohen, March 5, 2015

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