State investigators criticize Virginia Mason response to superbug outbreak

Investigators looking into the "superbug" infection outbreak at Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center have come to the conclusion that the hospital failed to properly respond to the incident, according to The Seattle Times.

All total, Virginia Mason linked 39 infections and 18 deaths to the outbreak between 2012 and 2014, but did not file a required report with the state system that tracks dangerous and deadly adverse events.

"Failure to report an adverse event may result in unrecognized patterns of device-related events in multiple facilities," read a state Department of Health complaint cited in The Seattle Times report.

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Virginia Mason declined to be interviewed by the local newspaper but released a statement saying the hospital engaged certain state health officials early on to investigate the rare, multidrug-resistant infections spread by certain endoscopes.

State and federal investigators have also been looking into complaints that Virginia Mason failed to properly notify patients that their cases were part of an outbreak.

Ultimately, investigators decided the hospital officials did not violate state rules regarding patient notification because Virginia Mason informed patients and family members about the infections and treatment at the time of the illnesses — and sent specific notifications about the problems with the scopes last spring.

Although the investigators criticized the hospital for failing to file the required state report on the incidents, their report also concluded that the hospital was not at fault for the outbreak.



More articles on superbugs and infections:
Despite cleaning guidelines, scopes still cause infection: 5 study takeaways
Research finds bacteria may become weak without antibiotics: 3 things to know
Researchers develop most sensitive superbug-detection test yet


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