Twenty one babies have been infected due to a contaminated drip, killing one and leaving at least one more fighting for its life. The babies were being treated in ten hospitals around England when they became infected.
The babies had been given a fluid called parenteral nutrition which intravenously gives children nutrients when they aren’t able to eat on their own. The infections resulted in cases of septicaemia and have been “strongly linked” to an intravenous fluid.
The situation developed rapidly over the weekend with one baby after another becoming infected, triggering a frantic search for the cause of the life threatening infection. It wasn’t until wednesday that it was discovered the cause was a contaminated batch of liquid feed.
The liquid feed was being used in 22 hospitals across the country and has since been recalled. The short shelf life of the product means any unrecalled feed would have been discarded already.
As a result of the contamination, Yousef Al-Kharboush died on the 31st of May at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Yousef and his twin brother had been put on life support after being born eight weeks premature. Yousef later fell seriously ill after being infected with the bacterium bacillus cereus, he died two days later.
Yusuf’s father, Raaid Hassan Sakkijha, told of the agony of seeing his son deteriorate. He hopes inquiries into his son’s death can help save other children from suffering the same fate.
The manufacturer of the product, ITH Pharma, says there is no need for any more families to be concerned as the contaminated batch has been withdrawn. ITH Pharma said there will be no further batches distributed until an investigation is carried out.
Karen Hamling, the managing director of London-based firm ITH Pharma, said: “We are co-operating with all of our regulatory bodies because we want to ensure something like this never happens again.”
ITH Pharma is inspected every 3 to 5 years and was last inspected April 2012. The company says all staff go through a “rigorous and continuous” training programme which is led by an in house team.
Public health chief Paul Cosford has said a full investigation is underway to determine what went wrong, the investigation will be carried out by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority.
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