Trigger: Child death.
It's hard for any parent to have to deal with having a premature baby. When this happens, the baby in question typically Depending on their condition, they may get better quickly. But if your baby was born really early, they may be stuck in the NICU for an undetermined amount of time. At least your newborn is in a safe and clean environment that will make them better soon. Or rather, that's supposed to be the case.
A Pennslyvania hospital's NICU has had three babies pass away from a waterborne bacterial infection over the past two months. Not only that, but five more premature infants also became sick with the same infection. As of this time, one baby is still being treated for it, while the remaining four have since made a full recovery.
The hospital in question- Geisinger Medical Center- says that they discovered this infection back in July, with an older baby who survived. This infection is said to be caused by pseudomonas bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this particular bacteria grows in the water and is "found widely" throughout the environment.
Geisinger Medical Center's director of media relations, Matthew Van Stone, explained that while this bacteria isn't too harmful to healthy individuals, it can be dangerous for those with a weak immune system. That includes premature babies, whose immune systems aren't all that developed.
"In many cases, the immune system can withstand the bacteria without symptoms. In fragile individuals such as premature infants or the elderly, the resulting infection can cause significant illness," he explained.
He also revealed that the hospital has since taken "extensive measures" to get rid of this disease while ensuring that similar cases stop popping up. This, according to Van Stone, includes "achieving optimal chlorination in water lines, improving and maintaining vigilance in donor breast milk processing, routine tap water cultures, increased deep cleaning of our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and many others." In addition, he pointed out that he's currently unaware of any litigation against the hospital "at this time" in regards to all the infants who contracted this infection.
At this time, the Geisinger Medical Center, the state department of health and the CDC are continuing to investigate the matter. Our thoughts are with the babies who are sick with this infection, the babies who died from it, and all of the parents who've been impacted by this tragic situation.