Teen Battling 'Superbug' Was Infected Twice

2 patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have died
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2015 11:35 AM CST
Teen Battling 'Superbug' Was Infected Twice
The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles is seen in Los Angeles, Feb. 19, 2015.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Two of seven patients infected by a "superbug" at an LA hospital have died, and now an 18-year old is battling to keep from being the third. According to the AP, the teen had gone to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center late last year to undergo a procedure that used a duodenoscope—now believed to be one of two contaminated with the superbug—to examine his pancreas. "Shortly after the procedure, he became gravely ill, and it was determined by the physicians at UCLA that he had contracted the CRE infection," lawyer Pete Kaufman tells ABC News. But the Los Angeles Times reports the teen may have been infected twice: Kaufman says the teen had been diagnosed with the bug in October, treated for three months, and released; he was reportedly reinfected with CRE when he went back in January for a second endoscopy.

Though Kaufman says the boy had an "acute illness" before undergoing the endoscopies, a second lawyer for the family, Kevin Boyle, tells the AP, "They were scoping it out, trying to see what was the matter. He had no life-threatening condition before like he does now." Boyle framed his condition as grave; Kaufman tells ABC News the teen had been "gravely, gravely ill" but "his prognosis at this time is guarded but optimistic." The teen's parents aren't miffed at UCLA: They may sue the endoscope's maker for not establishing an effective cleaning process. "Because of the complexity of these scopes … they are very, very difficult to clean. The manufacturer recommendations were followed by UCLA," a local Department of Public Health official said, per ABC News. Another 179 UCLA patients were possibly exposed. (Read more superbug stories.)

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