BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS Senior staff reporter email@example.com Wednesday, October 21, 2015
THE ministry of health yesterday made a shocking revelation that since June, 18 babies out of 42 have died from health care-associated infections (HAI) while in intensive care at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
The disclosure came after days of widespread reports of an infection outbreak at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the UHWI.
|The University Hospital of the West Indies whose neonatal|
intensive care unit has been affected by outbreaks of health
care-associated infections that have so far claimed the
lives of 18 infants. (OBSERVER FILE PHOTOS)
Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson and his team appeared on the defensive at a press conference, packed with ministry representatives and other stakeholders in the health sector, at Jamaica House, where journalists were told that outbreaks "happen from time to time" in special-care nurseries.
Statistics presented by the ministry at the press briefing, where reporters were informed that they had five minutes to ask questions following presentations from the minister and members of his technical team, showed that as of August, 13 babies had been infected with klebsiella at the UHWI, and that seven had died.
Before that, between June and September, eight babies were infected with another strain of HAI known as serratia at the facility, resulting in one fatality.
Meanwhile, at the CRH, 14 babies were infected, resulting in six deaths since September. Additionally, there were seven cases of klebsiella among newborns at that institution between June and July, and four of those babies died.
The ministry has not yet identified the source of the pathogen for the current outbreak. "We have to swab everything, everybody who passes through, all the staff, every piece of equipment and try to find out where it has lodged, and try to remove it," permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Kevin Harvey, stated, while stressing that the deaths occurred in greater numbers among those who were born at seven months' gestation and who had low birth rates.
Of the 14 babies infected at CRH since September, all of those who were born at seven months or less died, while the eight who died at the UHWI had been born before seven months. more