When you go in for a medical procedure, you expect the equipment to be spic-and-span.
And you sure don’t expect it to have remnants of blood… or even poop… from the last guy on it.
But that’s EXACTLY what’s happening at medical facilities right now.
Docs and nurses are using these dirty tools… again and again… even though they haven’t been properly cleaned.
This is one of the GROSSEST secrets in medicine today – but with a couple steps, you can keep yourself safe.
Down the hatch… and onto the next
The duodenoscope has become an essential part of any gastroenterologist’s practice.
It can help the doc take a look at your small intestine, pancreas and bile ducts.
This type of scope goes down your throat and through your stomach… so you can imagine what it picks up along the way.
And because it’s a tiny machine with lots of moving parts, tissue and bacteria can become trapped all over it.
Needless to say, they need a good scrubbing before they move onto the next patient.
That’s where the hiccup occurs.
Device makers already require that staffers clean – or, as they call it, “reprocess” – duodenoscopes manually.
According to a just-out FDA report, the amount of gunk left on those scopes is DISGUSTING.
Independent studies found “high concern organisms” like E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa – a multi-drug resistant pathogen.
They found lots of OTHER organisms that they consider of “low concern”… but any bacteria should have you VERY concerned.
The contamination rates, the FDA says, are “higher than expected.”
You can bet the numbers will only get WORSE.
The FDA is putting on a good show, saying it’s here to “inform hospitals and health care facilities… of the continued need to carefully clean and properly maintain” duodenoscopes.
But I can’t believe that anyone NEEDS a reminder to wash a probe like this – especially when they know where it’s been.
The “reprocessing staff” are actually TRYING to clean the duodenoscopes properly.
But for the life of them, they can’t understand the manufacturers’ cleaning instructions.
There are only THREE manufacturers of duodenoscopes: Fujifilm, Pentax, and Olympus.
And apparently NONE of them can write a user manual that anyone can follow without missing a step!
In 2015, the FDA ordered the companies to investigate how contaminated the scopes are… and why they’re not getting cleaned properly.
Three years have passed… and NOTHING.
The agency had to send warning letters to all three companies earlier this year because NONE of them had conducted the studies within the required timeframe.
It gets worse…
Olympus ADMITTED that it failed to report infections in Europe in 2012 and 2013… and continued to sell the problematic scopes ANYWAY.
The feds insist that your risk for infection is low. But there’s been such little time spent investigating these dirty devices… how do they even know?
Listen, sometimes a tool like this can help your doc or surgeon save your life. But the device industry is a moneymaking business just like pharmaceutical drugs.
The benefit to their bottom line might be worth any cost to your health.
Before any procedure, ask what they’ll be sticking in you and where. Find out the exact make and model so you can research the risks on your own.
To report any issue you encounter… or to read about the latest warnings… visit FDA.gov/Safety/MedWatch/.