Sunday, April 29, 2007

Further Ineptitude on the Part of Socialized Medicine...

Babies dying from bacterial infections because of dirty plumbing in the hospital... Maybe that's why being able to sue for damages is a good thing. Hospitals would learn to follow rigorous hygiene protocols... I wonder how often this happens in the USA?

Bacteria growing in a poorly maintained plumbing system is being blamed for the deaths of six premature babies in a Montreal hospital three years ago, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported on Friday.

A television documentary by Radio-Canada, the CBC's French-language service, revealed that the babies died after they contracted the "Pseudomonas aeruginosa" bacterium in the neonatal intensive care ward of Sainte-Justine Hospital.

The deaths occurred in 2004 and 2005.

Almost 50 babies were infected at Sainte-Justine during that period with the bacterium, which is commonly found in soil and water and attacks the respiratory system. It can cause pneumonia and blood infections, especially in humans with weakened immune systems.

After the first baby died in 2004, the hospital disinfected the crowded ward and searched for the source of the bacterium but over the next 18 months, five more babies died, Radio-Canada said.

The hospital closed the ward in December 2005 and discovered that the bacterium was breeding in the ward's sinks, which were not draining properly, the report showed.

Parents of three of the dead babies told Radio-Canada they were never told their baby died after having been infected with the bacterium.

On Friday, Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard said steps have been taken to ensure that health services at Sainte-Justine are safe.

"I insist that transparency and correct information to the public is part of the solution," Couillard told reporters in the provincial capital Quebec City.

Sainte-Justine officials told Radio-Canada that they are renovating the hospital's neonatal ward and have changed procedures so that no water from the plumbing system comes into contact with babies.

Eric Caire, the health critic for the opposition Action democratique party criticized the province's Liberal government for having a "culture of camouflage" and not telling the public about the crisis at Sainte-Justine's neonatal ward.

Caire asked the government to hold a public inquiry into the case.

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