ShareThis Page
Those Olympus scopes |

Those Olympus scopes

| Tuesday, July 26, 2016 9:00 p.m

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.

Categories: Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.