State Cites Los Angeles Hospital
The Department of Health Services in a report released Tuesday faulted White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles for inappropriate sterilization practices for medical equipment, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report found that hospital personnel did not properly sterilize blades used to insert breathing tubes, a situation that led to a bacterial outbreak in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
Two infants are believed to have died from the outbreak. The hospital in December closed its NICU as a result of the outbreak but later reopened the unit.
Two unrelated cases were reported in the hospital's pediatric ICU, which also closed for a time. The unit has reopened.
The director of risk management and infection control at the hospital told DHS investigators that the sterilization technique hospital staff had used "was unapproved, and there was no training, no competency and no monitoring of the procedure."
Hospital officials said they have worked with public health officials in Los Angeles County and other experts to guarantee that proper sterilization techniques are used throughout the hospital. No new infections have been reported since the outbreak in early December 2006, according to the hospital (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 1/24).