For the second time in several months, the Prince George’s Hospital Center in Maryland has closed its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to an outbreak of Pseudomonas, a potentially deadly bacterium. Five babies who were in the hospital’s NICU have been transferred to other hospitals in Maryland, including two babies who tested positive for the Pseudomonas bacterium.
The same Maryland hospital was closed in August of this year after routine nasal swabs of babies in the NICU found the bacterium. Nine babies were transferred from the hospital’s NICU to another hospital as a result. The source of the Pseudomonas in that outbreak turned out to be the water supply to the NICU. Sinks in the NICU were removed and filters were installed on the faucets. The NICU did not reopen until one month ago.
In its media statement dated November 2, 2016, the Maryland hospital stated:
“Effective today, Wednesday, November 2, Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC) has begun the process to temporarily close its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and transfer five NICU patients to other hospitals with neonatal intensive care services. This decision was made after two neonatal patients tested positive for the presence of the bacterium Pseudomonas …
Prince George’s Hospital Center temporarily closed its NICU this past August due to a similar discovery. In response to that discovery, and in the interest of ultimate patient safety, the hospital notified County and State regulatory bodies and transferred its NICU patients. Under the direction of, and in collaboration with a team of epidemiologists, public health authorities, and infectious disease experts, the hospital completed an extensive epidemiological review and developed a plan of action to identify a root cause and operational initiatives to mitigate reoccurrence.
The mitigation plan included terminal cleaning of the NICU, extensive treatment of the water supply system, and ongoing infection control measures. The root cause of the previous bacterium presence was found to be associated with the water supply system feeding the NICU. The hospital reopened its NICU on October 4, after multiple independent test results indicated that there was no identified presence of the bacterium in the water system.”
The Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Dimensions Healthcare System, which owns the Maryland hospital, stated: “Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our patients, as well as supporting the needs of our families. This is a complex epidemiological case, but our dedicated group of public health experts are working closely to determine the cause of this latest bacterium presence. We have concerns over the rediscovered presence within the NICU setting, but we will be relentless in researching and eliminating the bacterium however possible.”
If you or a loved one suffered serious harm as a result of a hospital-acquired infection in a NICU or elsewhere in a hospital in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries and losses if the infection was due to medical or other negligence, and/or if you suffered harm as a result of negligent treatment of your infection.
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