Many of you may have heard about a superbug going around that is resistant to antibiotics. What you may not know about it has been linked to medical scopes known as duodenoscopes. According to this case, 500,000 Americans undergo a procedure known as Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography or ERCP every year using these medical scopes and this procedure has been linked to the superbug outbreak also known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE.
Earlier this week, Carla Warner provided emotional testimony to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel about the devastating impact that as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE had on her husband, Willie “Bill” Warner. He developed CRE after having an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography procedure. Warner’s procedure used a widely sold TJF-Q180V duodenoscope, which was produced and sold by Olympus America, Inc. Carla Warner’s testimony about the death of her husband due to CRE was highlighted on the panel.
Beginning in 2010, Olympus redesigned and replaced its TJF-Q160V duodenoscope with the TJF-Q180V duodenoscope. The new 180V model had a sealed section on the device known as the “elevator wire channel.” In lawsuits that have been brought against the Olympus America Corporation after family members have died from infections using the TJF-Q180V duodenoscope, it was complained that bacteria can become trapped in the device’s sealed elevator wire channel. The elevator wire channel on the device is not easily accessed for proper cleaning so it becomes the source for the outbreak of the deadly superbug CRE infections that patients are developing.