Safety

Report: Olympus told executives not to warn hospitals about scopes

Hospital Safety Insider, July 28, 2016

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Newly released internal emails show that Olympus executives told U.S. employees not to warn their hospital customers about potentially deadly infections linked to its duodenoscopes, according to a report from Outpatient Surgery magazine.

According to the report, the emails suggest that Olympus officials based in its Japanese headquarters attempted to hide news of a potential outbreak from U.S. customers, even though it allegedly knew that its duodenoscope design made it difficult to clean the scopes and prevent cross-contamination.

The magazine also reported that after Olympus issued a safety alert about its duodenoscopes to its European customers following infection outbreaks at French and Dutch hospitals in January 2013, U.S. executives emailed their superiors, asking whether they should also communicate the information about the risks of the scopes with their U.S. users. In response, the officials told the U.S. executives that issuing a global alert was "not needed" and instead said the problems were due to poor reprocessing by the U.S. hospitals.

At least 35 people were killed due to tainted duodenoscopes during the U.S. outbreaks. Between January 2010 and October 2015, as many as 350 patients in 41 medical facilities worldwide were infected or exposed to contaminated scopes from Olympus and two other manufacturers, the magazine reported.

Read more here.



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