Septicaemia Outbreak Hits Neonatal Units

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Septicaemia has killed one baby and made 14 more seriously ill at St Thomas' Hospital in south London. Further cases are thought to have been found in babies at three other hospitals – Peterborough City Hospital, Southend University Hospital and Basildon University Hospital. The outbreaks are being "strongly linked" to contaminated drip food.

Baby Boy

New-borns Get Septicaemia


New-born babies have been exposed to the bacteria Bacillus cereus, believed to have originated in contaminated parenteral nutrition made by ITH Pharma. This was given to them in the neonatal intensive care units at the hospitals involved. Many of the babies that were affected by the infection were premature and already weak. The babies could not be fed by mouth and so the food was delivered directly into their bloodstream, exacerbating the transmission of the infection.

The surviving babies are said to be responding well to treatment and an investigation is underway by Public Health England (PHE) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

This is a shocking failure in treatment, 2 parents have lost a child and 17 more babies remain in a serious condition because of clinical negligence.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health's Dr Martin Ward Platt said that these kinds of cases, where Bacillus cereus has led to blood poisoning are extremely rare. It also seems that in this instance, care has failed due to contaminated products being used in treatment of seriously ill new-born babies.

It's an unfortunate fact that medical mistakes have become increasingly common, forcing the NHS to put money aside for compensation. In most cases, these events are preventable and leave those who have suffered with a lifetime of infirmity. Hopefully, the surviving babies will make a full recovery as the infection was caught early and no lasting problems will occur - although that serves as little comfort to the parents who have lost their child.

The long-term effects of Septicaemia include amputations, memory loss, chronic pain and almost 60% of survivors experience some kind of breakdown in cognitive functions.

Marguarita Tyne Clinical Negligence Partner at Simpson Millar LLP commented:

"This is a tragic case of failings in medical care. Although, sadly the problem was picked up too late for one family, most of the affected babies are now responding to treatment."


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