Penn. hospital: 3 infants dead after bacterial infection

Geisinger releases statement on Danville infant deaths

Geisinger releases statement on Danville infant deaths

"In fragile individuals such as premature infants or the elderly, the resulting infection can cause significant illness".

However, the bacteria is believed to have been limited to the intensive care unit where the infants were.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the obstetrics and neonatal teams at Geisinger Medical Center are temporarily diverting mothers likely to deliver prematurely before 32 weeks gestation, and infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation, to other regional institutions", the hospital said in a statement.

Four babies have recovered from an infection caused by the Pseudomonas bacterium, and one is still being treated with antibiotics, the hospital said.

Eight other premature babies staying in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville survived their infections.

The center found no evidence of the bacteria throughout the hospital, said Dr. Mark Shelley, director of infection prevention at Geisinger.

Geisinger said it's working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure the infection has been eradicated and to prevent any additional cases. Full-term pregnancies amount to 40 weeks of gestation. "We owe this to our community, to our families, and most importantly, to the children we care for", Dr. Maffei said.

Van Stone said he's not aware of any litigation "at this time" against the hospital related to the infections.

Hospital officials determined the cause of the infection - Pseudomonas bacterium - but so far testing of the unit where the infections occurred have come back negative.

The hospital has increased chlorination of water, bolstered water filtering, performed extra cleaning, and changed some of its processes.

Seven of the eight babies were born at less than 26 weeks of gestation, and the eighth was born at less than 27 weeks, according to the hospital.

"We will continue our meticulous and comprehensive infection control practices at GMC to reduce the risk of any infection in any infant, and we remain committed to providing the highest level of family-centered neonatal care for our families and babies", the statement said.

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