Hospital Reopens Neonatal Clinic After Bacteria Outbreak
White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday reopened admission to its neonatal intensive care unit after it was closed for two weeks because of a bacterial outbreak that might have caused the deaths of two premature infants, the AP/San Francisco Examiner reports.
Hospital officials said the decision to reopen the unit was made after consulting with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and other medical experts.
The hospital on Dec. 4 closed the unit after an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa sickened five infants and may have led to the deaths of two of the infants (Chang, AP/San Francisco Examiner, 12/20).
Rosalio Lopez, the hospital's chief medical officer, said that 10 other infants on Friday were found to have colonies of the bacterium in their noses or rectums, but they did not develop infections (Ornstein/Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times, 12/19).
Hospital officials said the bacterium was spread by a throat tube that was improperly sterilized by the unit's staff (AP/San Francisco Examiner, 12/20).
The parents of the second premature infant who officials believe died from the infection filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Tuesday against the hospital, citing negligence and alleging that the hospital failed to inform them about the bacterium, the Los Angeles Times reports (Vara-Orta/Lin II, Los Angeles Times, 12/20).
KPCC's "Patt Morrison" on Tuesday reported on the infections at White Memorial. The segment includes comments from Laurene Mascola, chief of acute communicable disease control for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, and Lisa McGiffert, director of the Stop Hospital Infections.org campaign for the Consumers Union (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 12/19). Audio of the segment is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.