PRATTVILLE, Ala. (CN) - The first wrongful death lawsuit has been filed over IV bags allegedly contaminated with bacteria that are believed to have killed 9 patients and infected 19 more in six Birmingham-area hospitals.
Meds I.V., an Alabama business, is believed to have supplied the IV bag for a woman who died March 15 after receiving total parenteral nutrition at Baptist Health Systems Hospital in Prattville.
Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) is given intravenously to patients who cannot eat. Because the TPN, and any contaminants it contains, directly enter the blood, illnesses caused by contaminated IV bags have a quick onset.
Barbara Young says her mother, Mary Ellen Kise, died on March 15 at Baptist Health Systems Hospital in Prattville.
Lead defendants are Meds I.V., its owner Edward Cingoranelli, its president William Rogers, all of Alabaster, Ala., and sales rep Bill Vise of Birmingham.
State and federal agencies say they are investigating an outbreak of Serratia marcescens in six Alabama hospitals that is believed to have stemmed from tainted IV bags.
The Birmingham News reported that the six hospitals are Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, Medical West, Prattville Baptist Hospital and Select Specialty Hospital, an acute care hospital that is part of Trinity Medical Center.
Serratia marcescens is a gram-negative bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. It is fairly common, for instance, in damp bathrooms, but can be killed with bleach. Once in the bloodstream however, eradicating it is far more difficult.
The recent outbreak of Serratia marcescens in Alabama is being investigated by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alabama Hospital Association, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the State Board of Pharmacy.
The Birmingham News reported today that Meds I.V. had sent it an email stating that it is "taking the investigation into the cause of the contamination very seriously" and that "current production of all products by Meds IV, including TPN bags, has been discontinued pending the results of an investigation currently underway."
Meds I.V.'s statement concludes: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the patients and their families who have been affected."
Barbara Young and her mother's estate are represented in Autauga County Curt by Jere L. Beasley of Montgomery.
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