IV Bag Infections at Alabama Hospitals Linked to Filtering Problems

An outbreak of deadly infections at six Alabama hospitals, which resulted in the death of at least 9 people and serious infections for at least 10 others, has been linked to problems with a filtering system that did not remove certain bacteria at a medical laboratory that made IV bags used at the hospitals.

According to the latest findings of the Alabama Department of Public Health, Serratia marcescens bacteria was found at the facility where intravenous feeding liquids were made. Officials are continuing to investigate why the filtering system used at the medical laboratory did not remove the bacteria.

Last month, Meds IV, an Alabama compounding pharmacy shut their doors and issued a recall for IV bags that contained a liquid nutrient known as Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). The recall was issued after an outbreak of infections involving Serratia marcescens bacteria was identified at six different Alabama hospitals where the IV bags were used.

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At least three lawsuits over the Alabama hospital infections have been filed, including two wrongful death suits. Additional claims are expected from patients who suffered infections due to Serratia marcescens bacteria.

The Alabama hospitals known to have received the tainted IV bags 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. The Alabama Department of Public Health investigators found bacteria on a faucet and medical equipment at the Meds IV lab. The company has since decided to cease operations and officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have indicated that it is unlikely the business will reopen.


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