Pennsylvania NICU Deaths Caused by Contaminated Equipment

Published on November 19th, 2019

NICU mismanagement thurswell law wrongful death michigan pennsylvaniaAll aspects of an infant’s care need to be handled meticulously when they are born prematurely or with complications. The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is supposed to be one of the safest places in a hospital, but at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania, three infants died after being fed infected breast milk in a horrific case of NICU mismanagement.

NICU Mismanagement Leads to Infant Deaths

Eight babies in the Geisinger NICU have fallen ill since the summer of 2019, and three have lost their lives, all having been exposed to the same bacteria. Geisinger is now reporting that their own equipment, used to measure breast milk quantities, contaminated the milk with pseudomonas, a waterborne bacteria that can cause pneumonia, diarrhea, fever, rashes, urinary tract infections, and more. Pseudomonas is a common bacteria that is only a minor threat to healthy people, but infants with compromised immune systems can face a deadly infection.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed against the hospital by the parents of a 5-day-old infant who died claims that the facility was negligent in cleaning its breast milk measuring equipment – and negligent in taking steps to change procedures once red flags arose.

Staff of the hospital admitted to noticing an “unusual” illness in the summer, but it was weeks before the source of the infection was identified. By then, two babies had died. “Several proactive measures,” according to a spokesman for the hospital, were taken on the last day of September, but by then the third infant had lost his life.

Previously, the Danville facility’s breast milk measurement equipment had been “thoroughly washed by hand” before reuse. Now, the facility employs single-use, sterilized measurement materials for breast milk.

Of the five infants that were sickened at Geisinger and are still alive, only one has been discharged. Four remain hospitalized and two are still receiving treatment for pseudomonas.

Birth Injuries from Poor NICU Treatment

Breast milk is widely considered the best food for infants, including babies born prematurely. If the infant’s mother is unable to express breast milk for the child, donor breast milk is considered a safe and essential substitute for infants who need it. Proper handling and storing of breast milk, however, is critical in all environments, but especially when being fed to babies in the NICU.

Premature infants and babies with health complications require careful, sophisticated, ongoing care. The NICU should be a safe place for specialized treatment and constant monitoring. Premature babies have a higher risk of developing health problems, both temporary and long-term. Without proper healthcare, complications can develop that lead to serious, life-threatening conditions and birth injuries – and even death.

If your family has suffered because of NICU medical negligence, contact the Michigan personal injury attorneys at Thurswell Law to get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation by calling (248) 354-2222 today. We do not charge any fees until we win.

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