UCLA, Cedars-Sinai act quickly to address scope-related 'immediate jeopardy' violations

Last year, state health inspectors declared patient lives were in "immediate jeopardy" at two Los Angeles-based hospitals — UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center due to medical scope-related infections. According to a recent report from the Los Angeles Times, the hospitals addressed the inspectors' concerns almost immediately and have seen no further problems in the year since.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections linked to improperly cleaned duodenoscopes ran amok in 2015. When UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center reported scope-related infections at the facility, state health inspectors visited the hospital. On March 4, 2015, they declared an "immediate jeopardy" designation after finding staff using contaminated water and a tainted liquid cleaner dispenser to clean colonoscopes and other devices.

The inspectors made the same declaration at Cedars-Sinai 21 days later after discovering "widespread pattern of potential ineffective sterilization and storage of surgical instruments" and issues with the disinfection of scopes, according to the report.

By working quickly to fix the problems identified by the inspectors, UCLA was able to have the warning lifted after just three hours and Cedars-Sinai had it lifted in just one day.

On Friday, officials from both hospitals announced that no patients, to their best knowledge, were sickened by the sterilization problems identified during the March 2015 inspections. Additionally, state inspectors have not revealed any additional problems on any follow-up visits since the outbreak.

"Cedars-Sinai Medical Center infection prevention specialists and other staff have taken numerous additional precautionary steps to further ensure that all surgical equipment is sterile," Michael Langberg, MD, Cedars-Sinai CMO, told the LA Times Friday.

Although the hospitals addressed the sterilization issues identified by inspectors quickly, some critics and patient advocates blame the hospitals' executives for letting the outbreaks happen at all.

"You would think these very sophisticated leading facilities would have been on a hospitalwide alert," Lisa McGiffert, director of the Safe Patient Project, told the LA Times. "Hospital leadership is not putting enough resources into infection control."



More articles on scopes:
Patient infection cases linked to dirty scopes continue to mount
FDA ups estimate of scope-related infections to 350
Olympus sought higher prices for their scopes after equipment linked to superbug outbreaks

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