Health Care

3 premature babies die at Pennsylvania hospital, possibly from bacterial infection

3 premature babies die at Pennsylvania hospital, possibly from bacterial infection”

Dr. Maffei said the NICU has been a "cornerstone" of the hospital for the past 25 years, and that they'd never seen anything like the recent infections.

Expectant mothers delivering before 32 weeks of gestation have been redirected to other hospitals nearby.

The babies were being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit of Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania.

The center believes the deaths and infections to have been caused by pseudomonas bacteria.

"The neonatal intensive care unit at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville recently experienced an increase in cases of pseudomonas infection, a waterborne bacteria, among premature infants", Edward Hartle, M.D, Geisinger executive vice president and chief medical officer, said in a statement. "However, it can cause disease, and it can cause disease in very fragile patients".

The hospital said all of the babies had been born prematurely, and the three deaths "may have been a result of the infection complicating their already vulnerable state due to extreme prematurity".

Four of the infants have been "successfully treated" and one is responding to antibiotic treatment. According to a statement from Geisinger Medical Center, the facility is working with state health department officials as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate and eradicate the bacteria. "We owe this to our community, to our families, and most importantly, to the children we care for", Dr. Maffei said.

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Dr. Mark Shelley, director of infection prevention, said they had not found any evidence of the bacteria on surfaces or elsewhere.

Tragedy at Geisinger's neonatal intensive care unit.

"It's really too soon to say exactly where the organism is coming from, but the information we have so far suggests that it's someplace outside of the neonatal intensive care unit", stated Shelly.

He also revealed the hospital was taking precautions to prevent further infections by having extra cleaning done, putting new filters on water taps, and changing center practices.

The hospital is dedicated to finding out why the infections occurred and not letting it happen again, Shelly said.

Seven of the eight babies were born at less than 26 weeks of gestation, and the eighth was born at less than 27 weeks, according to the hospital.

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