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Baby deaths: officials and staff removed

TWO public health officials and three hospital employees in Tianjin Municipality have been removed from their posts after five babies died from hospital-acquired infections, according to a Beijing-based Website today.

The top official of the Jixian County Public Heath Bureau, Wang Xin, Party secretary and director, was one, reported today. He was also the chief of the Jixian County Maternal and Child Care Service Center. The other official removed was Wang Lianjiang, Party secretary and deputy chief of the service center.

Three hospital employees including the director of medical affairs, Lu Qian, the director of the pediatric department, Jia Liying, and the charge nurse of the department, Zhang Jianfeng, were also removed.

The outbreak involved six newborn babies who were transferred to the Beijing Children's Hospital in a critical condition on March 18 and 19 from the service center.

Five of them were dead by March 22 and the other baby was in a stable condition. The families of the five babies received compensation payments of 180,000 yuan (US$23,344) each from the center.

Initial investigations by health ministry experts showed three of the newborn children had been infected with enterobacter cloacae bacteria at the child care center and developed septicemia.

All six infants had been treated in the Jixian center's incubators, which the experts determined to be the source of the infection.

The incubators were "seriously contaminated and were not sterilized thoroughly," said ministry experts, adding that disinfectant used in the hospital failed to meet concentration standards and the medical staff at the center had not been well-educated on infection prevention.

Work procedures at the center, which has 300 beds, including 31 for newborn babies, also failed to meet standards, the experts said.

Parents of other patients at the facility said they suspected there might have been more victims of hospital-acquired infections.


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