On August 8, 2016, Prince George's Hospital temporarily closed its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after detecting the deadly bacteria pseudomonas. The Maryland hospital determined that three infants had traces of the bacteria. Tragically, two babies recently died in the Prince George's NICU, although no one has found out whether pseudomonas was the cause of their death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pseudomonas kills roughly 400 people each year. The fact is, hospital infections such as pseudomonas can be deadly, and are often preventable if hospitals take proper measures.
What is pseudomonas?
Pseudomonas is a bacteria found throughout nature. While healthy people are generally able to ward off this bacteria, infants and people who are already sick have a harder time doing so. As a result, this bacteria is extremely dangerous in a hospital. According to the CDC, pseudomonas "can be spread on the hands of healthcare workers or by equipment that gets contaminated and is not properly treated." In the case of Prince George's hospital, the pseudomonas was found in water pipes near the NICU.
How is pseudomonas treated?
Like other types of bacterial infections, pseudomonas is treated with antibiotics. The problem, however, is that many types of "hospital infections" have become resistant to many types of antibiotics. The CDC estimates that roughly one in eight, or 13% of pseudomonas infections in hospitals are resistant to more than one type of antibiotic.
Given the deadliness of pseudomonas, it is vital that medical personnel take all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of infection to patients. Hospital personnel must frequently wash their hands and sterilize equipment. Failing to do so may be an act of medical malpractice.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to a hospital infection, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand if you have a valid claim for damages. The injury attorneys of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor have helped individuals and families across Delaware recover full and fair compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice.
Sources: What we know about Pseudomonas, the potentially deadly bacteria found at a Maryland hospital, Washington Post, August 9, 2016, by Justin Wm. Moyers, Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Healthcare Settings, CDC.com