Largo Medical Center warns 23 patients of possible endoscopy equipment contamination

Gastroenterologists from Kaiser Permanente Largo Medical Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., identified a defect in a piece of endoscopy equipment that may have exposed patients to infection, according to a report from WJLA.  

The flaw may prohibit the equipment from being properly disinfected. While physicians believe the risk of infection is minimal, they are reaching out to 23 patients who received an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy with the equipment and asking them to come in for additional screening.

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente said the health system "follows nationally recommended protocols for the cleaning and disinfection of all equipment used during procedures to ensure the safety of our patients and that all potentially transmissible infectious agents have been removed … However, after discovering the defect and conducting subsequent analysis, we determined that we cannot guarantee that the sterilization process was fully effective," according to a Wednesday statement obtained by WJLA.

No single medical device has been linked to more healthcare-associated infections than endoscopes, according to the CDC. Recently, the U.S. Air Force began warning 135 patients treated at a Qatar airbase of possible exposure to blood-borne pathogens like hepatitis and HIV due to improperly sterilized endoscopes.

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