The title of this HND piece is taken from a mordant lyric in Richard Fariña's 1966 folkie love song "Children of Darkness." In this case, our "foul command" is officialdom, and its pathetic reaction to serious outbreaks of the dreaded superbug Carbapenem resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), related to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
High profile cases include Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center, and UCLA"s Ronald Reagan Medical Center.
The FDA has been asleep at the switch—to be kind about it, while the rest of the players are blaming each other. Cover-ups have surely occurred. Associated deaths have attracted plaintiff's attorneys, but the burden of proof will be on the plaintiffs, to show that the CRE was indeed caught during the hospital stay. Fortunately, this can now be done with DNA analysis.
Lax procedures in disinfecting the endoscopes are likely at fault, but the hospitals insist that they have always followed the manufacturer's instructions. This is subject to some debate, of course. It is expected that many more such cases will emerge in the coming months.
Read the complete article.