Geisinger NICU hit by bacterial infection

Last updated: October 7, 2019 - 11:24am


DANVILLE — A waterborne bacteria has infected eight infants in Geisinger Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit, officials say.

Three infants have died, "which may have been a result of the infection complicating their already vulnerable state due to extreme prematurity," the hospital said in a statement.

Four others have received treatment and are doing well, while the fifth continues to receive treatment,  the statement said.

"We continue to work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate and ensure that proactive measures already taken have eradicated the bacteria as well as prevent any additional cases," said Dr. Edward Hartle, Geisinger executive vice president and chief medical officer.

Here is Hartle's full statement:

“The neonatal intensive care unit at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville recently experienced an increase in cases of pseudomonas infection, a waterborne bacteria, among premature infants. While HIPPA regulations limit what we can disclose about individual cases, all were confined to the GMC NICU. In total, eight infants confined specifically to the Geisinger Medical Center NICU were treated for a pseudomonas infection. Four of these infants have been successfully treated and are doing well; one of these infants continues to receive antibiotic treatment for the infection and is responding positively; and, sadly, the other three infants have passed away, which may have been a result of the infection complicating their already vulnerable state due to extreme prematurity.  We express our deepest sympathies and provide our full support to the families and loved ones who have been affected.

We continue to work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate and ensure that proactive measures already taken have eradicated the bacteria as well as prevent any additional cases.

Out of an abundance of caution, the obstetrics and neonatal teams at Geisinger Medical Center are temporarily diverting mothers likely to deliver prematurely before 32 weeks gestation, and infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation, to other regional institutions in Pennsylvania with appropriate NICU capabilities. We will continue our meticulous and comprehensive infection control practices at GMC to reduce the risk of any infection in any infant, and we remain committed to providing the highest level of family-centered neonatal care for our families and babies.”

A hotline has been established for any community members who may have questions regarding this announcement. The hotline numbers are 570-214-9087 and 570-214-9088.

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