When we go the hospital we place our health and well-being in the hands of the doctors and medical staff. Surgical procedures are performed every day and should be done in a safe manner. We certainly don’t expect something to go wrong, but unfortunately sometimes it does. A lawsuit was filed against Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge (doing business as Advocate Health and Hospitals Corporation, and Pentax Medical, a division of Pentax of America, Inc. According to the lawsuit the patient had a surgical procedure that used a duodenoscope. It allegedly was not sterilized properly and the man suffered an infection of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, a serious infection also known as CRE.
CRE is a type of antibiotic resistant infection that is very difficult to treat. It is most commonly associated with improperly sterilized implements used in surgical procedures and is considered a healthcare-associated infection. When bacteria spreads outside of the colon, it can cause a urinary tract infection, infections in the bloodstream, wound infections, and pneumonia. The problem is that this superbug has become highly resistant to typical antibiotics and is therefore quite hard to kill. Once a patient has become infected they must be quickly and properly treated and the outcome is not guaranteed.
Use of the Duodenoscope
CRE is most often found in hospitals and among patients with compromised immune systems or who are being treated for some other condition. In this case, the patient underwent a procedure that utilized a duodenoscope. A duodenoscope is an endoscopic instrument that is used during an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). During the procedure, the surgeon inserts the duodenoscope into the mouth and down into the intestine to examine the area where the bile duct attaches. In this case, the lawsuit states that the doctor was negligent in the use of the instrument and it caused him to contract the superbug CRE.
Treatment of CRE
CRE is difficult to treat. Patients are required to take a strong course of special antibiotics. Additionally, if the area affected is a wound it may be able to be drained to eliminate some of the infection. Patients must be closely monitored and if one type of antibiotic does not work another one must be used instead. Care workers and others must take care to wash their hands, use gloves, and disinfect the room when caring for someone with CRE.
In this case, the man filed a lawsuit claiming medical negligence against the hospital and the manufacturer of the duodenoscope. Surgical and other medical procedures must be performed using proper care. When they are not, the doctor may be held responsible for negligence. This lawsuit demonstrates the need for doctors to use care when using equipment such as an endoscope. Luckily in this case the man survived the ordeal and is seeking more than $50,000 to cover medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages as well as legal fees. If you or someone you love was seriously injured because of the negligence of a doctor, contact the legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your options.