In the five years between January 2010 and October 2015, roughly 350 patients have undergone gastrointestinal procedures with contaminated scopes produced by the Tokyo-based company Olympus Corp. Dozens have died as a result.
The product, called the duodenoscope, is used in 700,000 procedures every year in America alone. Doctors insert the scope into patients’ throats in order to identify and treat health problems in the digestive tract. A design flaw makes the duodenoscope difficult to clean between procedures, allowing the transfer of bacteria from patient to patient. So far, we have seen outbreaks in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Denver among other American cities.
The worst part about this story is that Olympus has been aware of its design flaw for years. They chose to ignore it.
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