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Infections Related to Contaminated IVs Emphasize the Danger of Contracting Infections in Hospitals

May 02, 2011

TPN, otherwise known as total parenteral nutrition, was deemed to be the cause in an outbreak of Serratia marcescens bacteria in six Alabama hospitals recently.

Serratia marcescens is a type of bacteria found in foods, milk, insects, water and soil. It is known to cause infections in hospitals, especially to those with compromised immune systems. The bacteria can cause life threatening sepsis and septic shock in people when it gets into the bloodstream. TPN is a liquid nutrition that is fed through an IV to patients using a catheter. The Alabama Department of Public Health has stated that there are currently 9 people dead and 19 cases of illness total in the six hospitals to this point. If you have suffered serious injury or wrongful death because of an infection contracted in a hospital, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can advise you regarding your right to compensation for your injuries and loss.

All of these hospitals received their TPN supply from a pharmacy source called Meds IV according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Upon learning of the outbreak, the pharmacy discontinued all production of the TPN supplement and notified all of its customers that might potentially use the product. Meds IV has since voluntarily recalled all of its IV compounded products.

An investigation is currently taking place. It is currently in question as to whether the patients died due to their current illness or whether the drugs could have caused the deaths. A judge has issued an order to Meds IV on behalf of two of the hospitals to preserve all evidence related to the products that have been recalled. Apparently the company has since shutdown its website and has turned off the lights in its offices located in Alabama.

Medical malpractice lawsuits will likely start to be filed if it is determined that the TPN supplied by Meds IV is the cause of the patients' deaths or serious illnesses. Over the years, medical malpractice lawsuits over infections acquired in hospitals have often resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts. Experts frequently argue that these types of infections could well be avoided if certain steps were implemented by the hospitals and their medical staff.

The CDC reports that there are more than 2 million hospital infections reported by patients in a typical year. These infections resulted in 90,000 deaths each year, and another 1.5 million infections are contracted in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

The nonprofit safety group, Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, has declared that there is overwhelming evidence that nearly all hospital infections are preventable. Simple things like medical staff washing their hands, medical instruments, and patient rooms frequently and thoroughly can be an effective way to prevent infections. Screening incoming patients and products also can help protect other patients.

Most of the infections in hospitals are found in the bloodstream, the urinary tract and at the site of a recent surgery. One of the more common infections is Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus, commonly referred to as a MRSA infection or simply as Staph. This infection has caused more than 60 percent of hospital staph infections over the last few years, which accounts for about 126,000 infections a year and about 5,000 deaths. People can lose limbs, organs and their lives due to infections acquired in a hospital. If a jury finds that the hospital is not following protocols to reduce the risk of serious infection, a hospital may share liability for causing serious infection-related injuries or illnesses.

If you have tested positive for an infection after a hospital stay, you may be entitled to compensation for your illness including loss of wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, disability and other damages. Our experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.