9 Die in Alabama After Tainted IV Packs
Nine Alabama Hospital Patients Deaths Linked to Tainted IV Packs
Updated: Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011, 7:55 AM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011, 7:51 AM CDT
(NewsCore) - Nine patients in Alabama hospitals died after being hooked up to contaminated IV packs, the state health department revealed Tuesday.
The tainted intravenous nutritional supplements were contaminated with a lethal bacteria, the state health department told The Birmingham News.
Patients too ill to eat were given the supplements via IV. This meant the bacteria, called Serratia marcescens, was delivered straight to the bloodstream.
Nineteen patients in total were infected, according to an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control.
The deaths took place in six Alabama hospitals -- Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, Medical West, Prattville Baptist Hospital and Select Specialty Hospital -- a long-term acute care hospital that operates within Trinity Medical Center.
All six had received bags of nutritional supplements which were compounded by a Birmingham pharmacy called Meds IV, State Health Officer Don Williamson told the Birmingham News.
He added that it was impossible to know whether the nine deaths reported were caused by the bacteria or by underlying health problems.
Total parenteral nutrition has a very limited shelf life because it is mixed daily to order for each patient. It is given to vulnerable patients including burn victims, chemotherapy patients and those in intensive care after surgery.