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U.S. hospital admits that five children died from fungus outbreak between 2008 and 2009


(NaturalNews) It's easy for medical professionals to sweep the cause of a patient's death under the rug, to not be held liable for medical error. A hospital can become a breeding ground for deception, as death certificates can be easily faked, hiding the real cause of death. Family members can be left in the dark as their children's condition worsens in a hospital. The cause can be right in the hospital bed sheets, replicating, perpetuating a patient's illness.

New Orleans Children's Hospital admits that hospital-borne fungus outbreak took the lives of five children

After more than five years of silence, a Children's Hospital in New Orleans is opening up publicly about a fungus outbreak that originated from hospital bed linens. The outbreak ultimately claimed the lives of five children staying at the hospital between 2008 and 2009.

Children's Hospital Medical Director Dr. John Heaton said, "We narrowed our search down to a possible association with the linens that the patients rested on."

The five children were seeking medical attention at the Children's Hospital back in 2008, when suddenly their illnesses took a downward spiral. What ultimately shuttered the young one's lives was something just now coming into the open -- a rare fungal infection called mucormycosis.

Since the children's immune systems were already compromised, the fungal infection took hold quickly, accelerating their deteriorating condition, ultimately taking their lives, one after another. According to medical analysts, full disclosure of the first death could have prevented the deaths of the next four children.

"We failed to do what we should have done, pure and simple. We dropped the ball," said Dr. Heaton.

Mucormycosis fungal outbreak comes to the light

What was unexplainable and sort of secretive at first, back in 2008, slowly began to give way to common signs and symptoms, as doctors started seeing a pattern in patient's deteriorating conditions. By 2009, doctors opened up about the fungal outbreak and contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Immediately, hospital officials began to throw away old linens that were contaminated with the rare fungus. Sterilization methods were implemented in the rooms, storage areas and every nook and cranny. As time wore on, officials began to isolate and eradicate the cause of death -- mucormycosis fungus.

While the situation was kept quiet for long, news of the outbreak surfaced recently in the local media, prompting hospital officials to come clean about the fungal outbreak that claimed the lives of five ill children seeking medical attention.

Dr. Heaton spoke out: "Although we made an extraordinary effort to identify the source of this infection, we did not make an extraordinary effort to communicate with our families and disclose the nature of this illness."

The outbreak and subsequent death were preventable, says former Health Director

A former New Orleans Health Director, Dr. Kevin Stephen, commented on the situation, pointing out that more transparent hospital practices could have prevented the fungal outbreak. "It's detectable, it's preventable and a lot of times it's very much treatable," he said.

Stephens condemned how the hospital managed the situation. The fungal outbreak was kept secret for at least a year. Stephens said that timely disclosure of such outbreaks is important and that death certificates need to be more clear as to the cause of death.

"That's the big story here is that the five cases should have really stopped with one case. So the doctors would have known and had a better chance of detecting and preventing more cases," Stephens said.

New standards are now being set at the Children's Hospital. Now, any adverse event is to be fully disclosed as soon as possible to prevent further infection of patients.

Sources for this article include:


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