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Nine patients die in Alabama due to possible IV contamination

by nickj on March 30, 2011

Nine patients at several hospitals in Alabama have died after exposure to bacterial contamination through intravenous solution, according to CNN.

The affected hospitals were Baptist Princeton, Baptist Prattville, Medical West, Cooper Green Mercy, Baptist Shelby and Select Specialty, according to Dr. Jim McVay, the director of health promotion and chronic disease at the Alabama Health Department.

"Of the 19 that received the substance, nine of those are no longer living …These were very fragile individuals and it's not clear whether the bacteria contributed to their deaths," said McVay.

The contaminated IVs were manufactured by Meds IV, a Birmingham company, which has not returned calls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is involved in the investigation, according to Reuters.

"CDC's initial investigation identified TPN produced by a single pharmacy, Meds IV, as a potential common source and has determined that these hospitals received TPN from this pharmacy," said the CDC in a statement.

Meds IV has recalled its IV products and has suspended production as of March 24.

"This represents an example of an outbreak that does, unfortunately, occur," said Dr. Don Williamson of the Alabama Department of Public Health, according to the news provider.

Patients who were exposed to the bacteria – known as serratia marcescens bacteremia – were already very sick and using the IV for feeding.

It is uncertain how many others have been exposed to the contaminated IV solution.

Both the manufacturer, Med IV, and the affected hospitals have been cooperative with the investigation, reports Reuters. 

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