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NHS hospital failed to disclose babies’ deadly bacteria infections

PUBLISHED

A leading NHS hospital failed to publicly disclose that four very ill premature babies in its care were infected with a deadly bacterium, one of whom died soon after, the Guardian has revealed.

St Thomas’ hospital did not admit publicly that it had suffered an outbreak of Bacillus cereus in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of its Evelina children’s hospital in late 2013 and early 2014.

It occurred six months before a well publicised similar incident in June 2014 in which 19 premature babies at nine hospitals in England became infected with it after receiving contaminated baby feed directly into their bloodstream. Three of them died, including two at St Thomas’.

Leaked documents show that both the first outbreak and newborn baby’s death were investigated but never publicly acknowledged by the NHS trust that runs the hospital.

GSTT insists that it did not acknowledge the baby’s death publicly in any reports because it believed the child had died of other medical conditions, not the bacteria. However, it declined to say if it had told the baby’s parents that it had become infected with Bacillus cereus.

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Source: The Guardian, 23 June 2022

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