Huntington Hospital Shares Resolution of Pasadena Public Health Review of “Superbug” Outbreak

Published : Wednesday, June 1, 2016 | 2:21 PM

Huntington Memorial Hospital today made public the results of the Pasadena Public Health Department’s investigation of an outbreak of multi-drug resistant (“MDR”) pseudomonas aeruginosa linked to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (“ERCP”) procedures performed using Olympus Corp.-manufactured duodenoscopes at Huntington Hospital.

Notably, based on laboratory data surveillance, there have been no additional cases of MDR pseudomonas aeruginosa infection linked to an Olympus scope at Huntington Hospital since the start of the Pasadena Health Dept. investigation on August 19, 2015.


See a full copy of the report by clicking here


The Olympus Corp.-manufactured duodenoscopes in question have been the subject of ongoing governmental investigations by congressional House and Senate subcommittees, and have been linked to infections at numerous hospitals nationwide.

“We are fortunate to have PPHD (Pasadena Public Health Department) as a resource for our city and our patients,” said Dr. Paula Verrette, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Huntington Hospital. “We thank them for their support and assistance in confirming the underlying cause of last year’s pseudomonas cluster linked to Olympus scopes and in recommending additional actions that resulted in no new infections after August 2015. We have great sympathy for each patient and family who has been affected by this. We will continue to be in close contact with the appropriate health authorities and patients who may have been affected by these scopes or their representatives.”

In the report, originally dated May 19, 2016, PPHD details the findings of its nine-month investigation into MDR pseudomonas aeruginosa infections that occurred following an ERCP at Huntington Hospital. The report includes notes from observations on August 20, 2015, and September 11, 2015, of duodenoscope reprocessing, surveillance culturing and storage at Huntington Hospital.

On May 31, 2016, PPHD published an addendum to the report discussing the results of a May 20, 2016 inspection where Huntington Hospital was found to have made improvements to control measures.

PPHD’s investigation began in August 2015 after HH identified a small number of patients with blood cultures positive for MDR pseudomonas aeruginosa. PPHD’s investigation was conducted in partnership with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“LAC DPH”) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service Program Office based at LAC DPH (collectively the “Public Health Team”). In addition, the Public Health Team consulted with the California Department of Public Health Healthcare-Associated Infections Program and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Public Health Team’s investigation included a comprehensive analysis of data from varied sources spanning six years including medical billing records, ERCP procedure logs, ERCP servicing logs, automated endoscope reprocessor logs, clinical medical records, administrative records, and pseudomonas aeruginosa culture results from patients, duodenoscopes, and environmental samples.

In its investigation, the Public Health Team worked with HH to identify additional cases of infection among patients who had received an ERCP procedure, as an inpatient or outpatient, at HH between January 2013 and August 20, 2015. As a result of this investigation, 16 total cases of pseudomonas aeruginosa were traced to Olympus Corp.-manufactured duodenoscopes, including the initial three identified by HH. In keeping with its reporting protocol, HH does not comment on patient outcomes except when an express release is granted. Specific outcomes are noted in the official report from the Public Health Team.

During the course of its review, the Public Health Team recommended a number of action items that HH has implemented or is in the process of implementing. HH said it welcomes feedback and recommendations from its partners and regulators.

Dr. Verrette continued: “Patient safety remains our highest priority and continuous improvement is one aspect of our commitment to delivering the best possible outcomes. Under the guidance of the Public Health Team, we have implemented or are implementing requested modifications to our processes. We appreciate the hard work of the entire HH team in resolving this issue.”

About Huntington Hospital

Huntington Hospital, www.huntingtonhospital.com, is a 625-bed not-for-profit hospital in Pasadena, California. We are named among the top hospitals in California and nationally ranked in two specialties by U.S. News and World Report. Learn more about us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/huntingtonmemorialhospital and on Twitter at @huntingtonnews.

Note: The PPHD report and addendum referenced in the above is attached in full.