Patients cleared after exposure to contaminated scopes

Hundreds of patients who were tested for HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis after being exposed to improperly-cleaned endoscopes and bronchoscopes have been given clean bills of health.
Close to 250 patients were probed for HIV and hepatitis A, B, or C infections, said Dave Murray, president and CEO of the local group health centre.
“For the most part, we’re satisfied with the test results that we have got indicating there are no infections.”
Murray said a half-dozen patients opted not to go through the final round of tests despite being encouraged to do so.
Tests conducted earlier this year showed no sign of illness from possible exposure. About 20 patients who used bronchoscopes also were urged to be tested for TB even though the risk of infection was low.
All tests have come back negative.
The problem surfaced in February when it was discovered that older endoscopes—long, tubular devices introduced orally or rectally to gauge gastrointestinal disorders—were disinfected with a process used for new models, which were out for repairs at the time.
Not long after the problem was publicly announced, a patient who may have been examined with the improperly-cleaned equipment filed a $10-million lawsuit on behalf of the other roughly 250 patients who underwent testing.
The health centre has since purchased an additional scope washer and scope. Sterilization is now fully automated, Murray said.
Patients in Amherst, N.S. also were forced to endure tests after being exposed to dirty endoscopes.