Congressman seeks info from manufacturer of medical scopes tied to 'superbug' outbreaks

Health Care Associated Press

A federal lawmaker is seeking details from the manufacturer of medical scopes that have been linked to several "superbug" bacteria outbreaks at U.S. hospitals, asking when the company first learned of the problems.

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U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., also wants information about Olympus Corp.'s plans to redesign and replace the specialized medical scopes, according a letter sent Monday. The company's specialized endoscopes were linked to infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in seven patients — two of whom died — at two Los Angeles hospitals last month. Hospital staff said the infections occurred despite following Olympus' instructions for cleaning the devices.

The problems have touched off a national debate about the safety of reusable medical instruments. The Food and Drug Administration says it is working with manufacturers to redesign the devices.