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Robotic Drug Dispenser Found to Harbor Harmful Bacteria

Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers issued a warning about widespread hospital infections from dirty surgical devices earlier this month.  Now, a new report brings to light yet another medical safety issue – robotic drug dispensers that contain harmful bacteria.

A study that appeared in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology reports medical staff at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, NC discovered Bacillus cereus bacteria during a quality assurance test of drug samples dispensed by a robot.  Specifically, the robot was being used to prepare intravenous medications in a sterile environment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports Bacillus cereus is most often associated with food poisoning.  Symptoms caused by the bacteria include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and pain which occurs 6-15 hours after contamination.  Nausea may accompany diarrhea, but vomiting rarely occurs.  Symptoms persist for 24 hours in most instances. In some instances, symptom onset occurs within a half hour.

According to the study, Bacillus cereus is resistant to many commonly used disinfectants, including alcohol. Further, contamination of intravenous drugs with this bacteria can cause serious problems, including potentially life-threatening bloodstream infections in patients.

No one was harmed by the dirty device and the authors noted that this is the first published finding of contamination by a robot.

The contamination was likely caused by contamination within the machine’s washing station and its associated tubing.  The frightening aspect of this is that the washing station is not considered a sterile part of the robot, and the authors noted that the manufacturer does not specify a formal cleaning and maintenance procedure for the part.

The authors suggest the product manufacturer significantly enhances the cleaning instructions and quality assurance measures as well as suggesting using the robot in the pharmacy’s clean room.

If you have been injured by contaminated medicine or an incorrect dose of medicine, you may be eligible for compensation.  Contact an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer to understand your legal rights.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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