A Maryland hospital’s NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) has been temporarily closed, and nine babies in the NICU have been transferred to other hospitals, after the bacterium Pseudomonas was found in a water pipe that provides water to the NICU. The water was tested following the deaths of two babies in the NICU last week. Presently, a direct link between the two deaths in the NICU and Pseudonomas has not been established. However, three other NICU babies were recently discovered to have Pseudomonas after routine nasal swabs discovered the bacterium.
The Maryland hospital stated that the entire hospital is being tested for Pseudomonas but no other areas of the hospital appear to be affected at the present time.
The Maryland hospital’s website describes its NICU as follows: “Our NICU is the only Level III designated Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Southern Maryland. We have neonatalogists, pediatricians, and nurses who specialize in the care of the newborn at risk. If there is a need, this team will be at your delivery to care for you and your baby.”
According to the CDC, Pseudomonas infection is caused by strains of bacteria found widely in the environment. The most common type causing infections in humans is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). Serious Pseudomonas infections usually occur in people in the hospital and/or with weakened immune systems, such as newborns.
In hospitals, where the most serious infections occur, Pseudomonas can be spread on the hands of healthcare workers or by equipment that gets contaminated and is not cleaned properly. Patients in hospitals, especially those on breathing machines, those with devices such as catheters, and patients with wounds from surgery or from burns are potentially at risk for serious, life-threatening infections.
A study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology in 2012 concluded, “The studies reviewed here have shown that P. aeruginosa, especially antibiotic-resistant strains, are a well-known cause of outbreaks of invasive and non-invasive disease in the NICU setting. Such outbreaks occur in both high- and middle-income countries and can result in both morbidity and mortality. Outbreaks can be long-lasting but can also be effectively brought under control by the use of various interventions, the most important being effective infection prevention practices, especially hand hygiene for staff and visitors; such practices are key to the prevention of P. aeruginosa outbreaks.”
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.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may investigate your hospital infection claim for you and represent you in a claim against a hospital, if appropriate.
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