Bronchoscope Infection Lawsuit Filed in Washington

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November 18, 2015 — The Seattle Times reports that a 60 year-old Navy Veteran has died from antibiotic-resistant pneumonia transmitted on a dirty bronchoscope.

Chief Petty Officer William Piersawl of Lynnwood, Washington, a retired Navy veteran after 25 years of service, was infected with Gram-negative pneumonia after being treated at the Seattle Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital.

The lawsuit (PDF) was originally filed against the VA in February 2015 by his wife, Carolyn E. Piersawl, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Case No. 2:15-cv-00154).

Between 2009 and 2012, Piersawl underwent at least two procedures involving bronchoscopes, which were used to examine his lungs and airways.

The lawsuit accuses the VA of failing to properly sterilize the bronchoscope according to the manufacturers’ instructions. The complaint was recently amended to blame scope-washing machines that were recalled last week because they might not work.

The amended lawsuit claims the VA uses scope-washing machines made by Custom Ultrasonics. Last week, the FDA ordered the company to recall all 2,800 of its automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) because the products “could result in an increased risk of infection transmission to patients.”

In September 2015, the FDA issued a Safety Communication about bronchoscopes after receiving 109 reports of infections and scope-contamination between January 2010 and June 2015.

 

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