Impure water kills two in Miami NICU

June 11, 2009

Two premature babies who died in Miami's Children's Hospital in March died not from improper care, but an infection from the water.

Two premature babies who died in Miami’s Children's Hospital in March died not from improper care, but an infection from the water.

The Miami-Dade Health Department concluded the common infectious bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, was from the water supply. "The department conclusively determined that there was no causal connection between the deaths of the two infants and patient care practices," a press release from Miami Children's said. "The report also confirms that the hospital's infection control practices are consistent with established standards."

Pseudomonas aeruginosa not only caused fatal infections in the two babies, but infected a third, and was found in 14 of the 36 infants in the NICU. it can cause sepsis in patients with severly comprmised immune systems, such as burn victims or extremely premature babies.

The health department said it offers twice-yearly chlorine purges to clean pipes on infections, but the hospital did not take them up on it. It also said the hospital did not flush its own systems regularly, and didn’t have policies to inspect plumbing.