My first born son, Jeffrey John, died on December 14, 2014 from an infection he contracted while undergoing treatment for cancer. He was 11 years old, and his senseless passing has left an unimaginable void in the lives of his father, mother, and three siblings. The outrage I have is that this tragedy could have been avoided.
Jeffrey's cancer was under control and promising new therapies were coming out every several months that had the promise of controlling his illness. But Jeffrey did not die from cancer - he died from the gross negligence of the manufacturer of a gastrointestinal device, called a duodenoscope, used to examine his stomach and small intestine.
We filed a products liability law suit against Olympus for their duodenoscopes that were used in two endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ("ERCP") procedures on Jeffrey that likely gave him deadly bacteria (super bugs) such as resistant E-coli, that caused his untimely death when their infections could not be treated by antibiotics. I have conflicting emotions. I am at peace with his oncolgist, Dr Federman, but am disgusted with Olympus and FDA's actions (or inaction) on the information they had no later than October of 2014 when Virginia Mason admitted to 12 deaths at their hospital in Seattle due to superbugs spread by the duodenscope devices. Jeffrey had 2 MORE procedures in November with the devices. We had stopped Jeffrey's cancer growth with the Aldoxorubicin chemotherapy in October as shown by CT scans, and were looking forward to continued progress with new and promising treatment therapies becoming available in the first quarter of 2015. Needless to say, Jeffrey's death from a preventable infection unrelated to the cancer drove a stake through our hearts after all we had been through to give our son the best possible chance of beating this cancer.
The actual bug that Jeffrey tested positive for after his ERCP procedure on November 10, 2014 is Aeromonas.
- Aeromonas is a Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium that morphologically resembles members of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Most of the 14 described species have been associated with human diseases.
- Scientific name: Aeromonas
- Rank: Genus
- Higher classification: Pseudomonadaceae
- Lower classifications: Aeromonas salmonicida, Aeromonas punctata,Aeromonas hydrophila.
"I will personally review your case, and refer you to Jeffrey's counsel, who already has many of the duodenoscope cases, and has the best resources to fight these cases including one of the best trial attorneys in the United States. Call me now if you are grieving, and have lost a loved one, or are personally a victim of Olympus' and other duodenoscopes manufacture's negligence and fraud. I lost my son, who suffered untreatable bacterial infections as the likely result of bacterial transmission from the duodenoscopes used by UCLA's Gastrointestinal (G.I.) specialists during several ERCP procedures in the fall of 2014."
Duodenoscopes are flexible, lighted tubes that are threaded through the mouth, throat, and stomach into the top of the small intestine (duodenum). They are used during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a potentially life-saving procedure to diagnose and treat problems in the pancreas and bile ducts. In the United States, duodenoscopes are used in more than 500,000 ERCP procedures each year.
Duodenoscopes are complex instruments that contain many small working parts. If not thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, tissue or fluid from one patient can remain in a duodenoscope when it is used on a subsequent patient. In rare cases, this can lead to patient-to-patient infection.
Specialized “side-viewing” duodenoscopes are used in ERCP procedures. At the tip of the scope, there is a catheter in a channel that can deploy instruments. The instruments are attached to a moveable “elevator” mechanism that can change the angle of the instrument to remove gallstones, insert a stent, or open up a blocked bile duct.
In November 2009, the FDA issued a joint Safety Communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Veterans Administration which cautioned health care facilities, hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, and private practices about the risks to patients if flexible endoscopes and their accessories are not cleaned properly and recommended steps to reduce these risks.
In Fall 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted the FDA to a potential association of multi-drug resistant bacteria and duodenoscopes.
In February 2015, at least 179 people were exposed to CRE after undergoing ERCP duodenoscope procedures at a hospital in Los Angeles. An estimated 50% of infections are fatal.