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Study shows risk of worsened condition due to dirty medical tools

A nightmare scenario for Louisiana residents who undergo a medical procedure or receive treatment is if there is a mistake on the part of the medical staff. This can come in various ways. A mistake that should never happen is for people to become ill, suffer a worsened condition or die because of improper use of medical equipment. Included in that is the failure to clean equipment properly and putting patients at risk of being infected. A research study has shown that dirty medical scopes is a prevalent issue.

The study centered on three major facilities with bacteria on the scopes threatening to infect patients. The study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control. It says that regulators, manufacturers of the equipment and the hospitals themselves must be more vigilant in cleaning the equipment and lowering the chance of contamination. One suggestion is to stop manual cleaning of the equipment, instead using gas or chemicals to ensure they are free of substances that can place subsequent patients at risk.

In the study, it was found that 71 percent of the scopes had bacteria on them. It was noted that the bacteria were not a so-called "superbug," but what was on the equipment still placed people in danger of being infected. This is particularly worrisome as the equipment is often used to look inside the patients' bodies. The focus of the study were scopes that are used to remove kidney stones, colonoscopies and lung procedures.

The design of the equipment is perceived as a problem in cleaning them adequately. Another factor is the speed at which they are expected to be cleaned to be used again. Even as one hospital met the guidelines for cleaning the equipment, there were still 62 percent that had bacteria. Breaches in proper protocol were found in two other facilities and 92 percent and 85 percent had bacteria. Workers also wiped them down with dirty towels, they were left in unsterile areas and workers used the same gloves.

People who are having a medical procedure or getting treatment will be worried enough without the concern about a possible infection due to dirty equipment. However, as this research shows, it can happen and cause injuries and even death. Those who believe they have been infected after the use of dirty equipment should know their rights to seek compensation in a legal filing. A law firm that is experienced in medical malpractice cases may provide important information.

Source: healthcarefinancenews.com, "It's time to end manual cleaning of medical scopes, researchers say," Jeff Lagasse, April 23, 2018

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