No patients for NTM bacterial infection at several other area hospitals

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DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - In light of the recent warnings issued to open-heart surgery patients at Penn State-Hershey Medical Center and Wellspan York Hospital, other hospitals in the area are taking precautions, but say they have not had patients who have contracted a nontuberculous mycobacteria infection.

What follows is a compilation of statements issued detailing precautions taken and next steps by various hospitals in central Pennsylvania:

Pinnacle Health (Harrisburg)

"Our thoughts and concern are with patients who have been touched by these circumstances.

All PinnacleHealth primary care practices have been provided with a list of NTM symptoms to watch for in patients who had open-heart surgery at affected local hospitals. In addition, to help screen for NTM infections when we are admitting new patients, we are asking them if they have had open-heart surgery at any affected hospitals.

As an extra measure of precaution, we reviewed case files for every patient seen at PinnacleHealth who was diagnosed with a NTM infection in the past five years. We checked those patients against all patients who had open-heart surgery at PinnacleHealth in the last five years.There were no NTM infections associated with open-heart surgeries performed at PinnacleHealth Hospitals.

We are committed to providing the highest quality care to our patients in the safest environment for all surgeries and services we offer. Regarding open-heart surgery safety, PinnacleHealth has five new heater-cooler devices and exceeds the cleaning protocols recommended by the manufacturer. We comply with the highest standards of disinfection and maintenance. In addition, our cardiac surgical rooms are state-of-the art and HEPA filtered.

We have a long history of putting safety first. This history includes implementation of rigorous policies and process improvements aimed at reducing infections, including extensive and clearly defined policies on patient preparation, operating room inspections and hand washing. We will continue to follow all processes and precautions to prevent infection throughout the system.

Information is being shared with the community on our website,click here."

Wellspan Good Samaritan (Lebanon)

No patients at Wellspan Good Samaritan have contracted an NTM infection, according to Wellspan spokesman Brett Marcy.

As a result of the infections and the ongoing investigation at its sister facility in York, Wellspan has also replaced the heater-cooler devices in use at Good Samaritan, he said.

Holy Spirit Hospital (Camp Hill) - Statement from Lori Moran, Director of Public Relations and Marketing

"We haven’t had any heart surgery patients who contracted nontuberculous mycobacteria, or NTM infections. Our Terumo heater-cooler units are cleaned to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Our heater-cooler units are different models than the units that have been associated with recent infections. We will remain vigilant and will continue to monitor any patient safety issues."

Lancaster General Hospital - Statement from Dr. Joseph Kontra, Chief of Infectious Diseases

"Lancaster General Health is aware of the recently reported outbreaks of infections complicating open heart surgery due to non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). In addition to our ongoing infection surveillance efforts, we have carefully reviewed our hospital records for the last five years, and have found no evidence of NTM infections in our open-heart surgery patients."

"The safety and well-being of our patients remains our top priority. As such, LG Health has reviewed our policies and procedures, and has implemented the additional safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health. We remain confident in the safety of our Open-Heart Surgical Program at Lancaster General Health."

Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center & Lancaster Regional Medical Center - Statement from Danielle Gilmore, Director of Marketing

"The safety of our patients is our highest priority at Lancaster Regional Medical Center and Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center. No open heart surgical patients at our hospitals have had a Nontuberculous Myobacteria infection. Our infection control practices follow CDC, FDA and manufacturer’s recommendations for the heater-cooler devices used to cool a patient’s blood during cardiopulmonary bypass. Out of an abundance of caution, we are having the devices tested to validate our cleaning processes."