A hospital in Bend, Oregon is being sued for medical malpractice because hospital workers failed to fully sanitize a colonoscopy scope between multiple patients' colonoscopy exams. The hospital has recognized that it did not employ every step in a six step automated cleaning process, and as many as 18 colonoscopy procedures were conducted before hospital workers discovered the problem.
The CEO of the hospital acknowledged in a letter that a programming error in the automated cleaning process led to the overlooked cleaning steps. The hospital's CEO apologized for the error and said the integrity of the hospital's safety has not been interrupted. The sentiments of the executive have done little to console a woman who underwent a colonoscopy with a dirty scope. The woman filed a lawsuit last week and claimed the hospital did not fully clean the scope after it had been used on four previous patients last fall.
Because of the dirty colonoscopy procedure the woman has had to go through multiple sexually transmitted disease tests including a test for HIV. The woman's lawsuit claims $20,000 in damages for medical expenses and $250,000 in emotional damages. The cleaning process problem was found by a caretaker who found a leak in the colonoscopy equipment. The hospital then contacted its vendor to service the equipment and while the vendor was servicing the colonoscopy equipment the problem with the automated cleaning process was discovered.
Physicians from the hospital have said the woman is at a low risk for infection but the woman's attorney said either way her client's health was unnecessarily put at risk.
Source: ktvz.com, "St.Charles: Colonoscope Not Fully Sanitized," Ted Taylor, 1/10/11