Dozens of New York State Nursing Homes the Center of Bloodstream Infection Probe

Parker Waichman LLP notes that bloodstream infections tied to contaminated intravenous products are under review by the New York Department of Health; some neighboring states may be involved and are also under investigation.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm long dedicated to protecting the rights of victims of nursing home injury and defective drugs notes that nearly three-dozen patients at nursing homes across New York State may have developed bloodstream infections that originated from contaminated intravenous products, according to an October 5, 2016 Newsday report. The contaminated intravenous products were purchased by 54 facilities. Six facilities are located on located on Long Island; most are located in Manhattan, the New York Department of Health Investigation indicated, according to Newsday.

At least one patient death and 34 other infections that involve patients in long-term health care facilities are under investigation by the state. Specifically, health officials found that the suspected culprit involves intravenous medications and “flushes,” that include sterile saline meant to be infused into an intravenous tube that is connected to a patient for the purpose of flushing out, or clearing, the line of obstructions. The names of providers and distributers of these medications has not yet been named, nor have the names of the facilities that do business with these companies. New York State has confirmed that the products were acquired from two firms, one provides pharmacy services to nursing homes facilities located in New York’s greater metropolitan region and the second company manufactures medical products that include saline flushes.

The intravenous products were likely contaminated with bacteria identified as Burkholderia cepacia (B. capacia), according to health department data. In fact, Newsday reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe B. cepacia as either a group or bacterial complex with microbes tied to soil or water. While harmless to healthy individuals, B. cepacia may have serious, even deadly, outcomes for individuals with weakened immunity or who suffer from chronic lung diseases. The pathogen has become more and more antibiotic resistant, making B. cepacia harder to treat and manage with antibiotics. Some bloodstream infections caused by B. cepacia that are associated with the contaminated intravenous products are also under investigation in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

“Often, nursing home residents are very vulnerable and may not only be unable to defend themselves, they may not be able to communicate when they are ill or injured,” said Keith Gitman, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “The firm is very concerned that defenseless loved ones entrusted to the care of others may be in danger of developing a very serious, difficult-to-fight infection.”

Dr. Luis Martinez, associate professor in the department of biomedical science at New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, New York, told Newsday that B. cepacia is a gram negative bacterium and is, therefore, structurally complex and containing a double membrane. Most Gram negative bacteria, for example drug resistant E. coli, he said, are challenging to fight. Just a few antibiotics have been developed in recent years and a relatively small number of these for Gram negative bacteria, Martinez noted.

To determine eligibility for compensation following alleged nursing home injury, abuse, neglect, or harassment, please visit the Parker Waichman’s website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Release ID: 137017