18-Year-Old Patient in California Sues Medical Technology Manufacturer After Contracting “Superbug”.

Ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and Greece, were some of the first to utilize a system of currency to exchange goods and services.  Prior to that, trading, bartering and servitude were the only means with which to acquire food, clothing, and other necessary wares.  However, with the use of coins and paper money, many things developed a concrete value.  Markets for certain products became very nuanced, and ever since those days, economies have shifted in accordance with supply and demand.

As a matter of principle, people will use money to get what they want.  In other circumstances, however, they may have no choice but to buy something because it is such a unique product.  Medical technology manufacturers, for example, are few and far between.  This creates a smaller market for surgical tools, X-ray equipment, and the like.  But these products are bought and sold like any other, and are therefore subject to the same set of laws.  When someone is injured or harmed by a defective product, the manufacturer may have a great deal to answer for.  Tragically, product liability lawsuits often stem from the death of an unsuspecting victim.

In October of 2014, 18-year-old Aaron Young was a patient at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.  According to CBS Los Angeles, Young was set to undergo an endoscopy, which is a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person’s digestive tract.  The procedure is common, and is done with an endoscope or duodenoscope.

The hospital had recently purchased a new model of duodenoscope called the Q180V, which was manufactured by Olympus America Inc.  Young’s endoscopy seemed to go smoothly, but shortly afterward, it became apparent that something had gone terribly wrong.

Young contracted a very strong form of bacteria that made him very sick for several weeks.  He was forced to stay in the hospital and was in critical condition at several points.  To make matters worse, several other patients began showing signs of the “superbug.”  Seven other people became very ill and two of them died.

In a lawsuit filed on March 23, 2015, Young claims that the new model of the duodenoscope was created with a critical design flawThe tool was nearly impossible to clean, which meant that it was being used and reused without properly removing harmful bacteria.  The lawsuit claims that instead of providing adequate instructions on how to clean the newer model, Olympus provided hospitals with a cleaning protocol for an older endoscope with a significantly different design.

The UCLA Hospital is not named as a defendant in the suit.

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