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SoCal Lawmaker Targets Scope Maker At Center Of 'Superbug' Issues

LOS ANGELES ( — A Southland 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.

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-area hospitals last month. Hospital staff said the infections occurred despite following Olympus' instructions for cleaning the devices.

In response to the infections, Lieu told KNX 1070's Claudia Peschiutta reports he's asking Olympus to donate scopes or sell them at cost to local hospitals.

"I don't think it would hurt for them to show some good faith and try to help out these hospitals that have had to spend increasing amounts of money dealing with a product that is not performing to its own specification," said Lieu.

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.

Earlier this month, hospital officials said the superbug bacteria blamed for a deadly outbreak in February at UCLA Medical Center was linked to four patients infected at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

According to reports, the Olympus endoscope was never approved for sale to hospitals by the Food and Drug Administration.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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