Way in which hospital handled deadly fungus scrutinized

Most parents cannot imagine the loss of a child. While difficult to contemplate under any circumstance this is particularly true when the child dies while in the care of health care providers at a hospital–people who in many cases are supposed to be making them better.

This is why the death of multiple children at a hospital in another state is so upsetting. Following a revelation regarding what is suspected to be a contributing factor, the parents of those children, as well as the community in which the hospital is located, are expressing their displeasure. 

Though the kids were all in the hospital for different illnesses, during their stays, which took place over an 11 month period beginning in August 2008, they all contracted a flesh-eating fungal infection that often leads to death. Following the contraction, they all died. All of the children had immune systems that were compromised.

According to a medical journal, that infection, known as mucormycosis, was probably spread from person to person on the linens the hospital used. Based on a wide range of evidence, the way the hospital handled those linens, including using the same carts to transport both fresh as well as dirty linens, was likely to blame, at least in part, for the spread of the outbreak. Deficiencies pertaining to the hospital’s infection controls could have played a part as well. Since identifying the problem, the hospital has taken steps to address the issue.

In addition to issues with determining the cause of the spread of the fungus some of the parents are expressing displeasure with the course of action health care providers took in determining what was causing black spots to appear on their skin.

Though this issue occurred at a hospital in another state, negligence is to blame for injuries to patients at hospitals all too frequently. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an incident it is possible that a medical malpractice lawsuit might be filed. It is unclear whether anyone did so in this situation.

Source: The New York Times, “A Deadly Fungus and Questions at a Hospital,” Ian Urbina and Sheri Fink, April 28, 2014