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Medical scopes alert came too late: Our view
USA Today

When you go to a hospital, you don’t expect the device used for treatment to harm you. Yet since 2008, scores of patients across the country have been sickened, and some have died, from infections linked to contaminated medical scopes.

Compounding the tragedy is that many of the illnesses might have been prevented if the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates medical devices, had done its job with a greater sense of urgency.

Instead, the FDA took until this year to issue an explicit safety alert on the device, known as a “duodenoscope,” or flexible tube that is threaded down the throat of patients to examine and treat blockages in bile ducts or gall bladders. The alert came six years after the agency was first warned that the device was difficult to disinfect and was linked to a drug-resistant infection in Florida that sickened scores of patients, according to a USA TODAY investigation. Fifteen of the patients died.