Parents Sue Hospital Following Infant Death Linked to Infection Prevention Practices

By on 11:23 AM

Parents of an infant that died while under the care of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are suing the hospital, accusing its staff of failing to follow proper infection prevention protocols, according a National Law Review article.

The article references a 2017 American Journal of Infection Control report describing 23 infants at CHOP who, after receiving eye examinations, contracted eye infections, specifically an adenovirus infection. All patients suffered respiratory symptoms, with five developing pneumonia and 11 experiencing ocular symptoms. Six hospital employees and three parents of the infants also contracted viral infections.

The outbreak occurred in 2016. CHOP attributed the cause to a "lack of standard cleaning practices of bedside ophthalmologic equipment and limited glove use."

The lawsuit alleges the premature baby died because of her contracted infection at CHOP. The hospital has denied that the infection was what specially caused her death.

According to a report from The Inquirer, CHOP issued the following statement concerning the outbreak and the hospital's response:

"Upon identification of the outbreak, the hospital led a swift and proactive response, informing all at risk and quickly determining the unusual source of the outbreak. Strict infection control procedures, coupled with numerous safety enhancements, were immediately put into place, and no additional cases have since been identified. While we are unable to share details of active litigation, the health and safety of our patients and their families remains our foremost priority. The safety measures instituted as the result of this outbreak are currently being widely shared with physicians around the country as a best practice to prevent future outbreaks of adenovirus, ensuring that all children receive the best and safest care possible."

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, adenoviruses are common viruses that cause a range of illness, including cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea and conjunctivitis. People can contract an adenovirus infection at any age. People with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory or cardiac disease are more likely than others to become very ill from an adenovirus infection.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.