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A fungal outbreak at Childrens Hospital

Posted on Apr 23, 2014

It has been five years since five patients have died from a deadly fungal infection they had received from the linens of Children's Hospital. The outbreak happened in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune reported that last Thursday the officials from the Children's Hospital had begun to contact and inform the families of those who had been affected by the outbreak.

The outbreak occurred between August 2008-July 2009 and according to the medical director of New Orleans pediatric hospital, "the hospital did not act appropriately with respect to informing families of patients of the outbreak". The medical director even sited in the Times-Picayune that most of the families had found out that their family members were affected by the outbreak in the newspaper.

The fungal infection came from Mucormycosis, which is a a fungi that can be found in dirt and other decaying matter--like leaves. When the Center for Disease and Control conducted their investigation at the Children's Hospital in New Orleans, the concluded that the fungal infection was likely transmitted to the children through the laundered linens. Reported the Times-Picayune.

It was not until three patients had died from what looked like a similar cause, did the hospital begin to investigate in June 2009. Had the hospital done a "root analysis test" back in 2008 when the first patient had died from a hospital acquired infection, they could have detected the cause of the infection earlier.

The hospital failed when it came to communicating to the patients and their families. One of the many causes of medical malpractice is failure to communicate, whether it is the nurses who fail to communicate a patient's symptoms to the doctor, or the doctor who fails to communicate to the patient or their families.  

For more on this story, follow the link to Nola.com_Times-Picayune

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