'Major infection control deficiencies' identified after infant's death at New Jersey hospital

The New Jersey Department of Health investigated Newark, N.J.-based University Hospital after the death of a premature baby and uncovered "major infection control deficiencies," according to NJ.com.

Health officials started their investigation Oct. 1 and found the hospital had issues related to hand hygiene, personal protective equipment and cleanliness. The health department created a correction plan for the hospital after the investigation revealed the hospital failed to follow the department's recommended infection control practices.

"The plan calls for the hospital to hire a full-time certified infection control practitioner consultant, who will report to the department on immediate actions taken in the coming days," the correction plan outlined. "The department is also exploring further actions it may need to take in the coming days to ensure patient safety."

The premature baby stayed in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit where it contracted an Acinetobacter baumannii bacterial infection, which often occur in intensive care settings. The bacteria are found in water or soil, and potentially cause pneumonia or serious blood infections. The baby was transferred to another facility and died in late September, before the health department's investigation.

"Due to the other compounding medical conditions, the exact cause of death is still being investigated," the state told NJ.com.

Four more cases of A. baumannii have been reported in the hospital's NICU. The hospital said it will continue to work with the health department to address these issues.

"University Hospital takes patient safety, including infection control, very seriously," the hospital said in a statement cited by NJ.com. "We have been in regular communication with the Department of Health and continue to work closely with them to address this issue as quickly as possible."

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