A Los Angeles hospital's decision to turn over instrument sterilization to insiders may have cost some infants their lives, state officials have ruled. In early December, White Memorial Medical Center was forced to close its busy neonatal ICU after an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa made five babies sick and lead, most likely, to the deaths of two of those infants. A follow-up investigation by the California Department of Health Services has concluded that staffers charged with cleaning laryngoscope blades didn't follow the blade manufacturer's sterilization recommendations. Rather than doing a full sterilization procedure, the respiratory therapy staffers had merely wiped the blades with soap, water and alcohol wipes. The hospital's own investigation into the source of the infections had reached the same conclusion.
Get more background on the outbreak:
- check out this article from the Associated Press
- read the Los Angeles Times version of events
LA hospital unit re-opens after infant infections. Article
Study: Simple steps can cut ICU infections. Article