E Coli suspected of causing baby's death in LBJ Nursery
All babies born after August 20, 2013, who are brought to the LBJ Medical Center Emergency Room should be admitted and Chief of Pediatric Services, Dr. James Marrone should be contacted immediately, according to a notice currently posted inside the Emergency Room.
Samoa News sought an explanation from the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Akapusi Ledua, who stated this is due to a germ or bacteria called E Coli found inside the hospital nursery, which led the hospital to close the Nursery from two weeks ago Friday to last week Monday.
Dr. Ledua in response to Samoa News queries, stated the “important issue in this particular germ that was found, was that… it was outsmarting the usual antibiotics used to kill it by developing resistance to protect itself.”
He also noted that babies born after the said date, who have symptoms of fever and diarrhea must be brought to the hospital for observation and the Head Pediatrician should be contacted immediately.
Dr. Ledua said the hospital nursery was reopened late Monday afternoon (Sept. 9) after it was closed down on Friday, Sept. 6 to stop the spread of a germ suspected in the death of a baby. The Chief Medical Officer said a test done locally showed the baby had contacted a germ resistant to antibiotics that are normally used to treat such conditions.
“The hospital was awaiting the results of samples sent off island for confirmation of the germ. This result was confirmed at noon on Tuesday 9/10/13 from the Hawai’i Laboratory, which agreed with the test that was done in our laboratory here in LBJ Medical Center.”
Dr. Ledua said the deceased baby was born prematurely and had been in the nursery for about a month when she suddenly got very sick and died.
He explained that last week, a second baby in the nursery developed similar symptoms which prompted the hospital to take necessary precautionary measures to control a possible spread of the infection to other patients admitted into the Nursery and other wards. Measures include scrub downs and the notice was posted in the ER.
“This resulted in isolating the sick child in an isolation room and closing the nursery off, with strict precautionary measures taken for staff looking after the sick child to prevent the spread of this germ. The germ is spread by contact and all staff taking care of the isolated child must wear protective gear, including gowns, gloves and masks.”
In addition to that isolation, Dr. Ledua said the nursery and all equipment was completely cleaned and swabs were taken from surfaces and equipment to ensure there was no germ left after the cleanup. He further stated this is standard practice when this type of situation occurs.
On Monday afternoon, the hospital determined it was safe to reopen the nursery after swab results taken from different surfaces and equipment came out clear of the suspected germ.
He noted the second baby has improved and is recovering well and is in a stable condition. However, she is still in isolation until she is completely cured of her present illness.
The nursery is now back to normal operations as usual, according to Dr. Ledua.
The Chief Medical Officer assures the public the nursery and hospital is safe and this was an isolated incident, which the hospital responded to within the standard practice of care.
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