3 infants die of infection contracted in NICU at Geisinger Medical Center

MONTOUR COUNTY — Three infants have died from an infection they contracted in the NICU at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Montour County, according to WNEP-TV.

Officials at Geisinger told WNEP eight infants were recently treated for a pseudomonas bacterial infection. Three of the babies died, WNEP reports.

Geisinger is diverting infants born at less than 32 weeks and moms who may deliver that early to other hospitals.

“Eight infants have tested positive for the pseudomonas bacteria. Seven of them were born before 27 weeks,” said Dr. Frank Maffei, chair of pediatrics, said in a press conference.

Pseudomonas is a common waterborne bacterium that is usually harmless, but because these infants do not have well developed immune systems, they were especially vulnerable, Geisinger officials said.

Geisinger’s department of infection prevention did cultures of the water and surfaces in the NICU and did not find the bacteria.

“It’s really too soon to say exactly where the organism is coming from, but the information we have so far suggests that it’s someplace outside of the NICU,” said Dr. Mark Shelley, director of infection prevention and control.

For the time being, Geisinger is diverting some patients to other hospitals. This includes women likely to deliver at less than 32 weeks and babies born at less than 32 weeks.

“It does not affect any mom who is delivering a child over 32 weeks gestation. This is critically important,” said Dr. Rosemary Leeming, chief medical officer.

Geisinger officials say the bacteria has not been found anywhere else in the hospital and this is the hospital’s highest priority.

“This is our obligation. This is our responsibility. We owe this to our community, to our families, and most importantly, to the children we care for,”  Maffei said.

As for the other five infants, Geisinger officials say four were treated and are doing well. One is still getting treatment and responding positively.

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