Investigators piecing together tainted IV puzzle after deaths in Alabama hospitals
Al.com reports that samples gathered from Meds IV have tested positive for Serratio marcescens, the bacteria suspected in the deaths. One interesting find is that while both adults and babies received the TPN IV, only the adults became ill or died.
Williamson said they're looking at other clues, too. For example, seven newborns received the supplements at those hospitals in March, along with 41 adults. While 17 of those 41 adults got sick, none of the babies did. Now investigators are looking at what's different about the compounding process for babies vs. adults -- he wouldn't provide the details -- figuring the answer may lie there.
Do babies and adults receive the exact same TPN IV? Or are they packaged or made differently? If it's the same exact product for both then the difference could just mean that babies' immune systems are able to fight off the bacteria better than adults.
Two lawsuits have been filed so far, and probably many more to follow.
Al.com mentions that the TPN mixture is made to order each day per patient, and because it's sensitive to light and heat it must be discarded if not used within 24 hours. In the past, most TPN solutions were produced in the hospitals but over time they began outsourcing it due to costs and efficiency. Question: was Meds IV stocking an inventory and not always throwing out expired supply after 24 hours?
The Alabama hospitals that are known to have received tainted Meds IV TPN include Baptist Princeton, Baptist Shelby, Baptist Prattville, Medical West, Cooper Green Mercy and Select Specialty Hospital in Birmingham.