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Hospital blamed for baby deaths

FIVE newborn babies in north China's Tianjin Municipality died from hospital-acquired infections caused by substandard hygiene and flawed management, the Ministry of Health reported yesterday.

Some parents said there may have been even more fatal infections.

The outbreak involved six newborns who were transferred to the Beijing Children's Hospital in critical condition on March 18 and 19 from the Jixian County Maternal and Child Care Service Center.

Five of them were dead by Sunday afternoon, and the other was in stable condition.

Initial investigation by a group of health ministry experts showed three of the newborns had fallen ill from enterobacter cloacae bacteria at the child care center. The children developed septicemia, a serious condition in which infection is spread through the blood.

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

The incubators were "seriously contaminated and were not sterilized thoroughly," said ministry experts, adding that disinfectant applied in the hospital failed to meet concentration standards and the medical staff at the center was not well-informed about infection prevention.

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

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

Dong Shengli, a resident of Jixian county, said that his son died recently at the Jixian center after experiencing symptoms similar to those suffered by the six children transferred to Beijing.


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