Outbreak of Bacteria from Intravenous Syringes Injures 52 Nursing Home Patients

Contaminated syringes have been associated with the outbreak of bacteria that infected nearly 150 people since August 2016. Fifty-two of those cases were in New Jersey. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “the majority of these cases occurred in patients residing at long-term care or rehabilitation facilities who were receiving intravenous (IV) fluids and/or antibiotics through central venous catheters.”

The outbreak of the bacteria from the IV syringes may be linked to six deaths in New York and Pennsylvania. Of the 58 total nursing home facilities that had been affected, the most were located in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There were several reports of similar outbreaks in Delaware and Maryland.

The bacteria is usually referred to B. cepacia. In most cases, the infections were caused by a pre-filled saline flush syringe, which the manufacturer voluntarily recalled on Oct. 4, 2016. The CDC announced on Nov. 9, 2016 that all nursing homes and other medical facilities should stop using the items, sequester any items in the facility and report all infections to local and state health authorities.

Unfortunately, B. cepacia is resistant to many common antibiotics. The resistance to antibiotics means that nursing home residents and hospital patients are subject to greater risk of serious illness, complications or death due to their suppressed immune systems. The CDC listed symptoms of B. cepacia bloodstream infections as: “fever, chills or shivering, clammy or sweaty skin, confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath and increased heart rate.”

If a nursing home resident or a hospital patient known to a family, friend or loved one displays any of these signs or symptoms, a doctor should immediately be notified to arrange for a blood test and other medical procedures.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home abuse cases, nursing home negligence cases, birth trauma injury cases, hospital injury cases, physician negligence cases and medical malpractice cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Willowbrook, Burr Ridge, Palos Hills, Dixmoor, Countryside, Country Club Hills, Forest Park, Flossmoor, North Riverside, Olympia Fields, Orland Hills, Homewood, Hoffman Estates, Harvey, Hanover Park, Barrington Hills, Bellwood, Bartlett, Berkeley, Blue Island, Brookfield, Lemont, Lincolnshire, River Grove and Western Springs, Ill.

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