Contaminated equipment used to prepare donated breast milk was the cause of a deadly bacterial outbreak at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., that took the lives of three babies and sickened five others, hospital officials announced today.
The news drew a swift rebuke from Matt Casey, a founding partner of Ross Feller Casey, who is representing two families who have lost babies in the tragic Pseudomonas outbreak.
“Conspicuously absent from Geisinger’s statement is any detail about when its officials first learned of a potential problem with the process it was using to prepare donor breast milk. We already know there was both a conscious decision as early as August to conceal the existence of a deadly infection trend, and a related, conscious decision to admit premature babies to that NICU despite this knowledge. As a result, two babies whose parents I represent are dead,” Casey said. “If Geisinger’s commitment to do all it can for these families is sincere, it will make full and complete disclosure of all it knows and when it knew it. This statement falls far short of that.”
Hospital officials said they and the Pennsylvania Department of Health had traced the bacteria to the equipment used at Geisinger’s NICU in Danville to measure the breast milk of donors. Geisinger officials also acknowledged that the Health Department issued the hospital system a citation in mid-October for failing to have a written policy relating to the measuring of such breast milk donations.
Casey filed a lawsuit in Luzerne County last month on behalf of his clients Zuleyka Rodriguez and Luis David Cepeda, the Hazle Township, Pa., parents of Abel Cepeda. Abel was born at Geisinger on September 24 and died on September 30. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Geisinger officials recognized a “trend” of infections as far back as August. Yet, they negligently and recklessly continued to send premature infants, like Abel, to the contaminated NICU in Danville.
Casey is now also representing the parents of twins who were sickened in the outbreak, one of whom has died.
News of the source of the outbreak and Casey’s response generated local and national media coverage.
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