What You Should Know About Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

We expect hospitals to be clean. Restaurants, food processing plans, and stores are inspected for cleanliness. But surprisingly, hospitals and even operating rooms, are not. Cleanliness is not measured by The Joint Commission, which inspects and accredits U.S. hospitals. Nor do most state health departments or the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assess hospitals for sanitary conditions.

With the recent superbug outbreak tied to two patient deaths and several infections at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in California, lawsuits are expected to follow. At the center of the finger-pointing is the hospital’s sterilization process and the manufacturer of the medical instrument believed to have spread the bug known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE.

Although this outbreak happened on the West Coast, there are new cases in North Carolina, and antibiotic-resistant infections have become threats in Virginia hospitals in just the last few years.

The Endoscope

The medical instrument at the focus of this outbreak is an endoscope that’s difficult to clean and used on more than half a million people in the U.S. each year. It’s used for procedures to diagnose and treat problems with the pancreas and bile ducts including:

  • Gallstones
  • Tumors
  • Infections of the pancreas
  • Inflammation of the pancreas

Studies Find Contaminated Tools and Surfaces in Hospitals

Hospitals are supposed to suppress infection, not spread it to patients. But researchers at Boston University inspected nearly 50 operating rooms and found that over half of the objects that needed to be disinfected were overlooked. Moreover, a study of patient rooms in 20 hospitals throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., found that over half of the surfaces that required cleaning for new patients were left dirty. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) also reported on this lack of hygiene in hospitals and its relationship to deadly infections.

Virginia area health care systems have a responsibility to ensure that doctors and medical staff do no harm and are driven by quality standards to provide perfect care. However, all too often the health systems in Virginia don’t perform to those standards, and many lawsuits have been filed because of it. 

If you have been injured due to medical negligence or malpractice, we believe you’re entitled to great representation. Call us at (703) 721-4233 for a free consultation. Our work has resulted in successful outcomes in many malpractice cases.


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