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Compensation paid after five babies die

RELATIVES of five babies who died from hospital-acquired infections in north China's Tianjin Municipality have received compensation payments of 180,000 yuan (US$23,344) each from a local children's hospital, the Beijing Times reported today.

The relatives signed compensation agreements yesterday afternoon with the Jixian County Maternal and the Child Care Service Center, which also covered medical costs incurred.

The five newborn babies died from hospital-acquired infections caused by substandard hygiene and flawed management.

The outbreak involved six babies who were transferred to the Beijing Children's Hospital in a critical condition on March 18 and 19. The surviving baby is in a stable condition.

Initial investigations by health ministry experts showed that three of the babies had been infected with enterobacter cloacae bacteria at the hospital. The children developed septicemia.

All six infants had been treated in the Jixian hospital's incubators, which, the ministry said, were the source of the infection.

The incubators were "seriously contaminated and were not sterilized thoroughly," said ministry experts, adding that the disinfectant used in the hospital failed to meet standards and the medical staff was not educated sufficiently about infection prevention.

Work procedures at the hospital, which has 300 beds, including 31 for newborns, also failed to meet standards to ensure the safety of surgery, the experts said.


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