Nine people died and 10 more were sickened in six Alabama hospitals after receiving IV packs filled with nutritional supplements that were contaminated with a dangerous bacteria. The supplement packs were compounded by a Birmingham pharmacy called Meds IV. Beasley Allen attorneys are investigating claims related to patient deaths as a result of receiving the tainted IV fluids.
The bacteria were identified as Serratia marcescens, organisms that can cause infection in several sites on the body including the urinary tract, respiratory tract, eyes, and in wounds. In rare cases, especially if it enters the bloodstream, as it would have in the case of contaminated IV fluids, the bacteria can cause pneumonia and meningitis.
IV nutritional fluids, known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN), have a very limited shelf life and are mixed daily and to order for each patient. People who received Meds IV TPNs are among the sickest patients, including burn victims, chemotherapy patients and those in intensive care after surgery. These patients already have compromised immune systems, which make them particularly vulnerable to infections.
The Alabama Department of Public Health called for an investigation that was led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC identified six hospitals where infections were confirmed – Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, Medical West, Prattville Baptist Hospital and Select Specialty Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital that operates within Trinity Medical Center.
All six hospitals have since switched suppliers for nutritional supplements, and Med IV has voluntarily recalled all compounded IV fluids since the first of the year, including pain medications, nitroglycerin and dialysis solution.
The investigation is ongoing to identify the root of the problem.
Beasley Allen Founding Shareholder Jere L. Beasley recently talked with news media about the firm’s ongoing investigations into these cases. He has spoken with WSFA-TV12 and WAKA TV8 locally, and CNN.