March 29, 2011
Nine patients in Alabama hospitals have died after receiving treatment with intravenous feeding bags contaminated with bacteria, reports AOL News.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has confirmed the agency is investigating an outbreak of Serratia marcescens infections at six Alabama hospitals related to an IV feeding product called TPN (total parenteral nutrition) and that nine patients who received the product have died.
After reports March 16th of an outbreak of Serratia marcescens at two Alabama hospitals among patients receiving TPN treatment, state health officials requested assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who identified Meds IV as the pharmacy supplying the TPN.
“At this time, ADPH is aware of 19 cases in these six hospitals of Serratia marcescens bacteremia related to this outbreak,” said a press release from the ADPH.
Use of the contaminated TPN IV caused injection of the bacteria directly into the bloodstream of the patients, causing a potentially life-threatening bloodstream infection.
Hospitals affected by the outbreak are Baptist Princeton, Baptist Shelby, Baptist Prattville, Medical West, Cooper Green Mercy and Select Specialty Hospital in Birmingham.
“Of the 19 patients, there have been nine fatalities,” said State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson in a news conference. “Now I cannot, and this is very important, the patients were getting TPN have other underlying conditions or they wouldn’t be getting TPN. So I can’t say at this point the relationship of the bacteremia to the deaths. That’s why the investigation is ongoing. We are continuing to collect data, we are continuing to work with the CDC to try to sort all of that out.”