Improper endoscope disinfection leads to lawsuit

By: March 17th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Endoscope cleaning procedures are at the heart of a class-action lawsuit against Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. An endoscope used for a procedure like a colonoscopy was found to be improperly disinfected for several months, potentially exposing patients to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV, reports WSDU, New Orleans. , prompting patients to file a lawsuit.

Between October 8 and December 1 of 2010, the device was not disinfected, according to the law suit’s attorney, Ron Austin, and all affected patients will be looked at to conclude whether or not they contracted an infectious disease from the improperly disinfected device.

In a letter to its patients, Tulane Medical Center explained the cleaning process of the endoscope, admitting that in one step, the wrong temperature was used to properly disinfect, reports WSDU.

The Center is contacting the 360 patients affected, and offering free testing and counseling services, according to the report.

Have you been part of a similar infection control issue that involved lawsuits and adverse publicity? If so, what were some insights that you gained? Let us know in the comment section below.


By Lou MacDaid on March 23rd, 2011 at 7:58 am

This post makes several references to endoscopes and sterilization. Endoscopes are high level disinfected and not sterilized. While lay people may not know the difference, Infection Control Professionals must know. I am concerned a new ICP may get confused by the references to sterilization.

By Erica Jordan on March 23rd, 2011 at 9:58 am

Hello Lou

Thank you so much for your comment and pointing this out to us. The source from which I was reporting on,, used the word sterilized. But I have made the changes you indicated.

Thank you!


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