Surgery center in Georgia admits to not cleaning colonoscopy equipment

Going in for a colonoscopy, while it may not be the most enjoyable procedure, is generally routine and other than slight discomfort, patients can usually expect that no complications will arise out of this visit to the hospital. However, for patients that recently went in for a colonoscopy at a Georgia surgery center, the outcome of their colonoscopy may have been more harmful to their health than they originally expected.

What is medical malpractice?

Behind heart disease and cancer, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., states the Journal of the American Medical Association. In short, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional provides their patient with care that is unsafe and causes injury or harm. Malpractice may include:

  • A doctor giving a patient the wrong dosage of a certain medication.
  • A surgeon leaving surgical equipment in the body of their patient after surgery.
  • A surgeon operating on the wrong area of a patient's body.
  • A diagnosis being incorrect or failure to diagnose a patient altogether.

In addition to this list, medical malpractice can also involve a healthcare center failing to clean surgical equipment after use.

The dangers of unclean medical equipment

Properly cleaning medical equipment after use prevents the growth of harmful diseases, stops diseases from spreading to one patient from another and limits the need for additional surgeries after the original operation. Recently, an outpatient surgery center in Atlanta recently admitted that they failed to clean their medical equipment in order to protect their patients from disease, says myfoxatlanta.com.

The issue revolved around the center failing to clean the scopes used in colonoscopies. The chief medical officer at this surgery center stated that medical professionals are required to take several steps in order to ensure that these scopes are adequately cleaned. The process includes using detergent, an enzyme solution and a high-level disinfectant. Upon investigation it was discovered that the high-level disinfectant was not being applied to the scopes used for colonoscopies.

After this discovery, the surgery center sent out letters to 465 previous patients telling them that they may be at risk for a number of diseases as a result of the scopes not being properly cleaned. For example, a 41 year old man that underwent a colonoscopy during the previous year stated that the letter he received in the mail told him that he was at risk for Hepatitis B,C and HIV.

Unfortunately, instances like these threaten the lives of patients every day. If you contracted a disease as the result of a medical procedure, contact an attorney that can fight for your rights as a victim of medical malpractice.