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Scope cleanliness and safety is a 'problem that has not gone away'

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | March 18, 2016
Business Affairs Infection Control Risk Management

Each solution has pros and cons, he said. For example, most hospitals are not set up to use ETO, which is very flammable and toxic, and has been reported to damage scopes if not used correctly. But he cautioned against not taking the problem seriously.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” said Rutala. Day added that the Joint Commission, which surveys hospitals, has taken an active interest in how hospitals are responding to the scope infection threat.

These issues caught the attention of Congress, which issued a report in January titled “Preventable Tragedies: Superbugs and How Ineffective Monitoring of Medical Device Safety Fails Patients.” The report found fault with both duodenoscope manufacturers and the FDA after a 17-month lag in alerting hospitals, doctors and the public “to the risk posed by the devices”.

ECRI is a nonprofit professional organization that The New York Times called, “the country’s most-respected laboratory for testing medical products.” ECRI listed scope contamination risk as number one on its “2016 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards” list.

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