3 Died in Pasadena Hospital Outbreak Possibly Caused by Tainted Scopes: Report

At least three patient deaths at Huntington Hospital are suspected to have been caused by tainted medical scopes, according to news reports.

Officials at the Pasadena hospital confirmed in August that three patients were sickened but declined to say more about their condition.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that officials later told Olympus Corp., the scope's manufacturer, of the deaths. The revelation came in the company's report to federal regulators, which was obtained by the Times.

Hospital officials said this week that they believed patient privacy laws prevented them from telling the public that the unnamed patients had died.

"We continue to be in contact with patients and families regarding this matter," reads a statement by the hospital. "We continue to cooperate closely with all investigations into this national health crisis."

Huntington Hospital claims to have notified local health officials and the FDA of the deaths.

Contamination of duodenoscopes, lightweight tubes threaded through the mouth into the top of the small intestine, has been linked to bacterial outbreaks that sickened dozens of patients in hospitals around the country.

Last year, Olympus scopes came under close scrutiny, most notably after officials at UCLA announced in February that seven patients, including two who died, were exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria -- called CRE -- apparently spread by improperly disinfected Olympus duodenoscopes.

Cedars-Sinai announced a month later that four of its patients were similarly infected.

Olympus America Inc. issued revised guidelines for cleaning the scopes in March 2015. 

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report. 

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