CONGRESSMAN TED W. LIEU CALLS FOR HEARINGS ON SUPERBUG OUTBREAKS

February 24, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | CA-33) sent a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) requesting a hearing on the multiple sterilization failures of a medical device known as the duodenoscope.   The sterilization problems have led to multiple deaths nationwide and repeated outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant bacteria a.k.a. “superbugs.”

“Addressing the problems posed by duodenoscope-linked superbug outbreaks is one step forward in combating the health and national security threats posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” writes Congressman Lieu.  “I call upon the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to fully investigate these life and death issues.”

 

Why a Full Investigation is Needed

 

· Duodenoscope-linked outbreaks have occurred multiple times in our nation over the last few years, including in Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina and Washington State.

· Recently, at the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, CA, seven patients were infected and two were killed by a deadly bacterial outbreak of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), also known as a “superbug.”

· CRE is contagious, especially in hospital settings.  The UCLA Medical Center deadly superbug outbreak is linked to duodenoscopes that were not thoroughly sterilized.

· Duodenoscope-linked CRE outbreaks have national security ramifications.  President Obama issued an executive order on September 18, 2014 stating, “combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a national security priority.”

· The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert regarding the duodenoscope after the recent publication of a Los Angeles Times investigation.

 

More Information

· The UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center is located in Congressman Lieu’s district.

· The full text of Congressman Lieu’s letter requesting an OGR Hearing can be found here.