Superbug Infects UCLA Hospital
More than 100 patients at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to a potentially deadly bacteria from contaminated medical scopes after similar outbreaks at other hospitals across the country.
The Times has learned that seven UCLA patients have been infected by the drug-resistant superbug known as CRE, and the bacteria may have contributed to two of those patients’ deaths. Those numbers may grow as more patients get tested.
In response to questions from The Times, UCLA said it became aware of the outbreak late last month and has begun to notify patients and offer them medical tests. By some estimates, if the infection spreads to a person’s bloodstream, CRE can kill 40% to 50% of its patients.
At issue is a specialized endoscope inserted down the throats of about 500,000 patients annually to treat cancers, gallstones and other ailments of the digestive system. Medical experts say the design of some scopes causes them to hold on to bacteria that can be difficult to disinfect through conventional cleaning, so infections are transmitted from patient to patient.
Gross! They need to figure out a better way to clean their tools…