IV Bag Contamination (S. Marcescens)
The Alabama Department of Public Health ("ADPH") announced March 29 that 19 patients in six area hospitals were confirmed to be infected with Serratia marcescens, a common Gram-negative bacterium. It is reported by the ADPH that 9 of the 19 Serratia marcescens-infected patients have died. Investigations are ongoing to determine if the patients Serratia strain(s) are identical to those from the TPN solutions supplied by Meds IV pharmacy.Alabama Hospital Infection - Serratia Marcescens
The solutions, known as TPN (total parenteral nutrition) are delivered to the patients through a catheter that provides direct access to the blood via a vein. TPN is traditionally used for patients who are too ill to eat and need the nutritional support of IV administered nutrition. According to reports from ADPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a single pharmacy known as Meds IV is the source of the mixture provided to the following six hospitals: Baptist Princeton, Baptist Shelby, Baptist Prattville, Medical West, Cooper Green Mercy, and Select Specialty Hospital in Birmingham. Meds IV has sent a recall notice for all of its IV products and has informed the FDA of its voluntary recall efforts. At last count, the FDA report of March 29 confirms 19 cases of Serratia marcescens' infection related to Med IV. According to news reports, all hospitals affected immediately switched suppliers for their TPN stock.
The total number of exposed patients has not been reported and is not known at this time according to State Health Officer Don Williamson. The bacteria at issue, S. marcescens is one of several types termed "enteric bacteria" which are found in the environment and in the intestinal tract of animals and humans. When these types of bacteria contaminate liquids such as water or TPN products, they can multiply rapidly. Once introduced into the blood stream, they may multiply and reproduce within the organs and tissue of the infected patient, causing severe disease and possibly death. These type of hospital-acquired infections are commonly referred to as "nosocomial infections" and often occur in patients whose immune systems are severely compromised, such as those with: indwelling catheters, cancer, immunosuppressive therapy, emphysema, bronchitis, and other internal organ damage.
The toxins from the bacteria can damage or kill tissues and/or organs, resulting in death by a process known as "septic shock." Septic shock is marked by a sharp drop in blood pressure and stagnation in the blood capillaries, resulting in death within a few hours or days.
Cultures have been obtained from samples of the contaminated Meds IV bags, and results should be available within 24 to 48 hours. To date, Meds IV has stopped all TPN production and has recalled all of its mixed IV products that it has sold since January 1, 2011 - including all pain medications, nitroglycerin and dialysis solutions.
For additional information, please see the following articles:
Deadly Infections from Intravenous Fluids in 6 Alabama Hospitals
Contaminated IV solution suspected in 9 patient deaths in Alabama
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*This press release and information is not intended to provide medical advice. Moreover, the information and facts contained herein are pulled from various sources and are simply what is alleged against Meds IV at this point. The facts that support these statements herein are to be determined using the legal process. No statements herein are intended to be considered by the reader as fact until proven with the legal process.