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Lawsuit filed against Pittsburgh hospital after patient death

It is hard to put in to words the devastation a family feels after losing a loved one. Things are even worse when the family feels like the death could have easily been prevented. One woman's family is suing a Pittsburgh hospital for wrongful death after a hospital stay gone wrong.

The 76-year-old schoolteacher contracted carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, otherwise known as CRE. The suit states that she contracted the superbug when she was exposed to a contaminated duodenoscope in a local hospital in February 2015. The infection appeared when physicians used the scope to diagnose a blocked bile duct. Afterward, she became very ill and was admitted to the ICU. She returned home for a short time before passing away in April 2015.

The woman had sued the manufacturer of the scope when she was still alive. Her family has continued to look into the cause of her death. Duodenoscopes, which are placed down the throat to study digestive problems, have caused infections and deaths nationwide. The U.S. Senate conducted an investigation to determine their cleanliness. The investigation revealed that the hospital did not properly disinfect the scopes and did not use fresh water when cleaning them. The Senate report finds the FDA, hospitals, and the device manufacturer all to be responsible for the illnesses of 250 people worldwide since 2012 and for multiple deaths.

The family's lawsuit alleges wrongful death and negligence against the hospital and the scope manufacturer. The suit alleges that the hospital added to the problems of the device with a faulty cleaning system. Cases like these draw attention to failed hospital procedures and faulty devices.

Source: Trib Live, "Allegheny General Hospital sued over 2015 infection death," Ben Schmitt, May 19, 2016

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