Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Alabama Hospital Outbreak

Following nine Alabama hospital deaths attributed to tainted IV bags at six Alabama hospitals, the family of a woman who died as a result of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_medical_devices">contaminated IV fluid has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer. A total of 19 patients have suffered from the Alabama hospital infections caused by serratia marcescens bacteremia, which contaminated the deadly IV feeding bags.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have identified six Alabama hospitals in which infections with the dangerous bacteria were confirmed: 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 is part of the Trinity Medical Center.

Mary Ellen Kise died at Baptist Health Systems hospital after having received treatment with a contaminated IV made by Meds IV, LLC, said Reuters, which noted that the lawsuit was filed on behalf of her daughter Barbara Young. The serratia marcescens bacteremia pathogen found in the tainted products can lead to urinary tract, respiratory tract, optical, and wound infections, noted Reuters.

On March 16, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) was notified that an outbreak occurred in two of the six hospitals among patients receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN), a liquid nutrition fed through an IV using a catheter. Use of contaminated products may lead to bacterial infection of the blood and either the fluid or the IV bags were contaminated with bacteria, say health authorities; however, a direct link between the tainted products and the 19 illnesses and nine deaths has not been confirmed, said Reuters.

ADPH requested assistance from the CDC; its initial investigation identified TPN produced by a single pharmacy—Meds IV—as a potential common source and has determined that these hospitals received TPN from this pharmacy. Meds IV was notified and has informed its customers of the potential contamination. ADPH was informed that affected hospitals immediately stopped using TPN received from this pharmacy and that the pharmacy discontinued all production. On March 24, Meds IV recalled all of its IV compounded products.

The families of two other deceased patients and one patient who suffered brain injuries after receiving IV feeding with Meds IV products is pursuing legal action, noted Reuters.

Meanwhile, a judge in Selby County, Alabama, issued an order that Meds IV not destroy any potential evidence connected to the tainted product recall, said Reuters. Baptist Health Systems, “… requested the Court issue this order so that evidence will be safeguarded and available for all parties as we move through this regulatory process,” said spokesman Ross Mitchell, in a statement, quoted Reuters.

eMedicine explained that the main risk factor for Serratia sepsis/bacteremia—sepsis—is hospitalization following placement of “intravenous, intraperitoneal, or urinary catheters and prior instrumentation of the respiratory tract.” Other diseases linked to serratia marcescens bacteremia include meningitis, cerebral abscess, osteomyelitis, and arthritis; most S. marcescens strains are resistant to several antibiotics.

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