KHMH updates public on baby death investigation

vlcsnap-2013-05-30-21h14m19s5The long-awaited update promised by the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) into the outbreak of a deadly bacterium that killed seven premature infants in its neonatal intensive care unit came this afternoon – but it was not much of an update. Despite obtaining the assistance of two experts provided by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the hospital’s director of medical services, Dr. Adrian Coye, maintained to PLUS News that no source for the infection of the unit has been found and so nothing can be ruled out as the cause. However, he noted that since the hospital has instituted immediate measures after the spread of illness inside the ward there have been no deaths. Six babies have been transferred elsewhere in the hospital, four in the adult intensive care unit and two in a section of the Maternity Ward. A total of 13 babies have died so far in the month of May, however the remaining six died from various complications of prematurity and issues not related to the bacterium known as Enterobacter cloacae. There has also been no link established to the first case of Enterobacter found in the hospital in May; the baby in that case was treated and released. Rather than vlcsnap-2013-05-30-21h14m19s5assessing blame, the hospital’s authorities mostly patted themselves on the back for reacting as quickly as they did. Dr. Coye took responsibility for informing the CEO, Dr. Gary Longsworth, of what was occurring after a wave of premature babies had died inside the ward, backtracking on the CEO’s earlier insistence that he learned of the deaths via the parents complaining to the press. Visiting epidemiologist and infection specialist from Chile, Dr. Ricardo Bustamante, said that from his observations the hospital reacted in time and these things do happen, around the world, and that is no excuse but the reality. The Chair of the Board of Governors of the Hospital Authority, Chandra Nisbet Cansino, listed a series of recommendations made to prevent the same thing from happening again. The hospital will now insist on its one person per visit policy which had caused some uproar in the past. Acknowledging some difficulties with communication between physicians and patients, she warned nurses and doctors working in the pediatric area that poor behaviour toward patients will not be tolerated.CEO Dr. Longsworth committed to having the current NICU reopened in approximately 2 months, as renovations have already started with Government funding and donations from the business and general public. Prime Minister Dean Barrow opened the press conference today by publicly committing the Government, through his wife Kim Simplis-Barrow, to funding a new wing of the hospital dedicated to intensive and pediatric care with an initial $500,000 for construction. He also extended condolences to the grieving families. We will have a complete report on the press conference in tomorrow’s newscast.

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