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Study shows mistakes prevalent in cleaning medical equipment

Ohioans who receive medical treatment place their trust in medical professionals to ensure that the environment is completely safe. Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and people suffer worsened medical conditions and sometimes even die because of errors or negligence. Patients may not often think about the basics of safe medical treatment, but, as a new study shows, cleanliness and safety are often absent.

According to the American Journal of Infection Control, a study of three California hospitals showed that 71 percent of medical scopes that were declared safe for patient use had bacteria on them. Contamination can be dangerous if the bacteria is still on the equipment even after it has been cleaned and deemed safe for use. The scopes are used to perform procedures on the lungs, to do colonoscopies, and to remove kidney stones, along with other procedures. Since 2013, at least 35 people have died because of gastrointestinal device contamination.

Sixty-two percent of scopes that were said to be disinfected at the highest rated hospital in the study had bacteria on them. The other two hospitals tested at 92 and 85 percent for bacterial contamination. Citations had been given to 60 percent of accredited hospitals because of noncompliance of medical device disinfection and sterilization. Seventy-four percent received citations indicating a threat to patient life.

For people who became unexpectedly ill after a procedure and were diagnosed with infections, it is important to understand that it might not have happened randomly. A hospital could have been negligent in its cleaning of equipment. These issues can cause long-term problems, medical expenses and death. A legal professional who is aware of these issues can help pursue compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source:, "Study: Nearly Three-Quarters Of Commonly Used Medical Scopes Tainted By Bacteria," Chad Terhune, April 23, 2018

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