Children's Hospital infections came months after CDC issued warning

Attorneys explore options after contaminated equipment causes infections at Children's Hospital
Updated: Sep. 12, 2017 at 4:50 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some parents of patients suffering from bacterial infections at Children's Hospital are ready to take legal action against the facility.

"Our goal  and charge is to figure out what Children's Hospital knew when, and what they should have done," said plaintiff's attorney Kenneth Bordes.

Bordes and Lawrence Centola are preparing to file lawsuits against the hospital on behalf of patients suffering from bacterial infections.

In an Aug. 30 letter to patients, the hospital stated the infections were caused by mycobacterium abscessus found on operating room equipment used in June and July of this year to regulate temperatures during open heart procedures.

"That's nine months after the October 2016 press release by the CDC, so the question is what did Children's Hospital do in that nine-month period?" Bordes said.

The attorneys point to a news release from the Centers for Disease Control warning healthcare providers and patients about the potential risk of infection from certain devices used during surgery. The release states that the LivaNova PLC devices like used during many surgeries may have been contaminated during manufacturing, putting patients at risk for life-threatening infections.

"The letter sent by Children's to the parents specifically notes a problem with the machines, and it's our information and belief that that machine was the type of machine that was addressed by the CDC," said plaintiff's attorney Lawrence Centola.

Children's Hospital officials told FOX 8 that the machines were used at the hospital for surgeries. Attorneys say they are investigating filing a product liability suit against the manufacturer.

The hospital says it has replaced the heater-cooler unit believed to have spread the infection.

"What we are doing is a thorough investigation to make sure what happened doesn't happen again and to take care of the people affected by it," Bordes said.

Family members said an infectious disease expert from a hospital in Tyler, Texas, spoke to parents Monday. They tell FOX 8 the doctor said that some of the tiny patients could be hospitalized for months.

Before any malpractice suit can be filed, Louisiana law requires attorneys to file a claim with a medical review panel. The hospital says it will not charge infected patients for treatment of the bacteria.

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