Those Olympus scopes
Lawrence Muscarella, a Philadelphia biomedical engineer who specializes in infection control, tells the Trib that a company’s “failure to acknowledge its errors and promptly correct them, choosing instead to blame others for infections, myopically results in poor health care quality, rising health care costs and patient harm.”
Indeed, it does. But it also should result in that company being forced to shoulder all civil liability, if not being prosecuted criminally.
Mr. Muscarella was reacting to news that Japanese medical device maker Olympus Corp. chose not to warn U.S. hospitals, UPMC among them, about tainted duodenoscopes, used to examine digestive issues. They were linked to infections and at least 35 deaths at U.S. hospitals, though none at UPMC.
Kaiser Health News first reported a January 2013 email exchange in which a Pennsylvania-based Olympus vice president asked a market quality manger in Tokyo if it should be telling American scope users what it had been telling European customers.
That Japanese official responded that there was no need to volunteer such information. Olympus instead blamed users for not properly cleaning the scopes. UPMC later devised a way to properly sterilize the scopes.
That Olympus appears to have actively chosen to hide the problem is most worthy of a Justice Department inquiry.