Alabama Hospital Infection Outbreak Leads to Meds IV TPN Recall

Alabama health officials are investigating nine deaths that may be linked to contaminated nutritional supplements by Med IV, an Alabama compounding pharmacy. 

Last week, Meds IV issued a Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) recall after an outbreak of hospital infections were traced back to Serratia marcescens bacteria that had contaminated the solutions.

The outbreak has hit at least six Alabama hospitals, according to state and federal investigators, and may have been a factor in the deaths of at least nine patients. A total of 19 patients so far are known to have been infected.

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The investigation into the deaths and the infections is likely to continue for at least another week. All of the patients who died while on TPN were ill, some severely, and it is unclear whether the infection caused or played a factor in all of their deaths.

In addition to the Meds IV TPN recall, the Birmingham-based pharmacy shut down and recalled all of its intravenous products on March 24 as a precaution. A complete product list is available in the Alabama Department of Public Health press release.

Meds IV is a compounding pharmacy, which makes medications that are not premixed by drug companies. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials say that the pharmacy made the decision to close its doors during the course of the investigation into the TPN outbreak and it is not likely that the business will re-open.

TPN is a liquid nutritional supplement given to patients who have gastrointestinal problems via IV or catheter. It is supposed to be shipped in a sterile container to hospitals and used within a short span of time. CDC officials and investigators from the Alabama health department are still investigating the cause of the contamination, but say it is likely that the contamination occurred during the mixing process by Meds IV.

The Alabama hospitals that are known to have received tainted Meds IV TPN include Baptist Princeton, Baptist Shelby, Baptist Prattville, Medical West, Cooper Green Mercy and Select Specialty Hospital in Birmingham.

Serratia marcescens is a waterborne bacteria that can cause fever, respiratory problems and shock. It usually responds well to antibiotics, particularly if caught early.


  • CharmaineSeptember 29, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    My sister was has cancer. She was given a TPN. She had 2 bacteria infection. We found out last week. The TPN caused the cancer to spread because of Dextrose. So why add Dextrose to the TPN bag for cancer patients. Is there another supplement for the Dextrose.

  • JWApril 4, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Did the tpn go thru a 0.22 micro filter before going to patient's vein?

  • BrettMarch 31, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    My partner died Feb 17 of a massive bacteria infection after being hospitalized for pancreatitis....lots of iv feeding...any conection?

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