Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Contaminated Syringes in Multistate Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating a recent outbreak of infections that have affected patients in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as representatives for the Department of Health from each state, officials are hoping to identify and prevent further infections that have been caused by contaminated syringes that were infected with Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia), a type of bacteria that is found in soil and water.

To date, the outbreak has affected a total of 153 patients, and there have been six fatalities. Most of the cases involve patients who received intravenous (IV) fluids and/or antibiotics via central venous catheters while residing in a long-term care facility or rehabilitation center. Nurse Assist, the Texas-based company responsible for manufacturing the contaminated prefilled saline flush syringes, has conducted a voluntary recall and removal of all those syringes effective October 4, 2016.

It is unclear whether the patient fatalities were caused by the B. cepacia infection, or if other pre-existing conditions were responsible. However, the fact remains that the outbreak affected over 150 patients at 58 facilities in the five states mentioned.

In response to the outbreak, distributors, healthcare facilities, and health care providers should take the following steps in order to prevent further spread of the infection:

  • Discontinue using any of the Nurse Assist prefilled saline flush syringes immediately.
  • Collect any unused product from pharmacies, and anywhere the medication might be stored or prepared, and ensure that they are safely secured to prevent further distribution.
  • Notify a state health department if any patients become infected with the B. cepacia bacteria from an IV syringe.
  • Report any issues associated with this product to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

What Patients and Healthcare Providers Need to Know 

  • The B. cepacia infections from this particular outbreak are bloodstream infections
  • Symptoms associated with bloodstream infections include fever, chills, clamminess, confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath, and an increased heart rate
  • Common antibiotics may not be effective in treating B. cepacia, as it can be resistant to common antibiotics. Healthcare providers should treat the infections on a case-by-case basis.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Infectious Outbreaks 

If you or a loved one has become ill as a result of a syringe or other medical equipment that has been contaminated with infectious bacteria, you are urged to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your illness, and seek to obtain the maximum financial compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent victims of medical malpractice throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.