'Major' deficiencies found at University Hospital following death of baby, state says

Posted October 25, 2018

A state inspection has uncovered "major infection control deficiencies" at University Hospital in Newark following the death of a premature baby, the state Department of Health said Thursday.

The state said its inspection of the hospital revealed issues with "hand hygiene, personal protective equipment and cleanliness" and that it has created a "Directed Plan of Correction" for New Jersey's only public hospital, following an investigation that showed that the Department of Health's "recommended practices had not been implemented."

The premature baby that was in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit contracted the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, and was transferred to another unnamed facility, where the child died in late September, "prior to the Department's notification of problems in the NICU," the department stated.

"Due to the other compounding medical conditions, the exact cause of death is still being investigated," the state said.

Acinetobacter baumannii bacterial infections typically occur in intensive care units and healthcare settings housing very ill patients, according to the CDC. The bacteria is usually found in soil or water, and can cause pneumonia or serious blood or wound infections.

There were four cases of Acinetobacter baumannii in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the department said it first became aware of the bacterial infection on Oct. 1.

"The plan calls for the hospital to hire a full-time Certified Infection Control Practitioner consultant, who will report to the Department on immediate actions taken in the coming days," the release stated. "The Department is also exploring further actions it may need to take in the coming days to ensure patient safety."

The hospital said it will be working with the department of health to address the issues.

"University Hospital takes patient safety, including infection control, very seriously," the hospital said in a statement. "We have been in regular communication with the Department of Health and continue to work closely with them to address this issue as quickly as possible."

University Hospital was was already under surveillance by the Department of Health following an executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy in July, after it received a failing grade in April's Leapfrog Safety report card.

Based on data from 2016 and 2017, University Hospital scored below average in preventing four out of five common infections, and below average for preventing six out of seven surgical complications.

Murphy's administration also alleged that the hospital had illegally begun phasing out some pediatric services and transferring the beds to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, before the state had granted it permission to do so.

The discovery of the bacteria at University Hospital comes just days after a deadly viral outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell that has claimed the lives of seven children and infected at least 12 others.

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment