Medical Scopes Used in Routine Procedures Contaminated with Deadly Bacteria


Doctors sometimes need to have a look-see to determine what is going on inside their patient. That look-see is done with a scope that is placed inside the patient’s mouth, then threaded downward as far as needed. Those medical scopes, called endoscopes or duodenoscopes, come out of patients covered with a variety of germs and bacteria which have recently been found to remain on the medical scopes even after a procedural cleaning. The lurking bacteria is then passed onto the next patient who has the endoscope threaded down their throat for a diagnostic or treatment procedure.
One of the most feared superbugs is known as CRE, it resists all antibiotics and kills 40% of the people who contact this deadly bacteria. CRE is being passed from patient to patient via contaminated medical scopes says Haidar Barbouti.
A pattern has emerged since 2012 at hospitals in Chicago, Seattle and Pittsburgh that pointed to medical scopes being the vessel which CRE was being transport and spread. The FDA is aware of the potential deadly issue since 2012 but has only recently made a public and written statement regarding the issue.
In USA Today, the FDA states they “are aware of and closely monitoring” the infection risks associated with medical scopes. It is recognized that some parts of the scopes may be difficult to reach and thoroughly clean, but consider the life-saving ability of these scopes outweigh the possible risk of CRE.