Endoscopy Equipment Not Thoroughly Disinfected Puts Maryland Hospital Patients at Risk

By on 5:25 AM

Kaiser Permanente's Largo Medical Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., has reported a possible exposure of 23 patients who underwent a colonoscopy/upper endoscopy as a result of a piece of equipment that "had a defect that might have kept it from being thoroughly disinfected," according to local reports.

The organization released a statement assuring that all patients who may have been affected are being contacted and that this is an “extremely isolated incident." It is believed that the risk to patients of illness as a result of this breach is minimal. Patients are being offered screening tests.

Over the course of the past few years, endoscopes, namely the duodenoscope, have been implicated in several resistant organism-related infections and outbreaks at various healthcare centers. This prompted officials to release a 2016 update to a multisociety guideline on reprocessing flexible GI endoscopes.

The federal government has taken a great interest in infection control, including reducing infection risks associated with medical equipment. In partnership with Medscape, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering a video series addressing the key issues surrounding infection prevention in healthcare facilities. The latest part in the series is on "Recognizing Infection Risks in Medical Equipment."

This free continuing education opportunity covers the following:
  • How to recognize infection risks associated with medical equipment
  • How infection risk assessment may be incorporated into purchasing decisions
  • How to develop an action plan to mitigate infection risk related to the clinical environment

Access the activity by clicking here.

Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS) is a national provider of infection prevention services that include working with hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers on maintaining sterile processing compliance and following evidence-based best practices. The ICCS team has extensive experience in mastering the steps for pre-cleaning, high-level disinfection, sterilization, monitoring of processes and environmental monitoring in the sterile processing department. Find out more by contacting ICCS.


Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.