The first victim was a premature boy in the intensive care unit whose mother noticed a mysterious irritation in his groin; it grew into an open wound burrowing into the baby’s abdomen. The last patient to die was a 10-year-old girl, whose face was ravaged.And just to remind you of what dangerous places hospitals are:
Three other patients at Children’s Hospital here were also stricken, including a 13-year-old boy who his parents said endured over 20 surgical procedures in 54 days in a futile effort to save him. . . .
The children died of various causes between August 2008 and July 2009 during an outbreak of a flesh-eating fungal infection, mucormycosis, most likely spread by bed linens, towels or gowns, according to a medical journal. The disclosure this month caused new pain for the families of the children and raised troubling questions about how the infections came about, why doctors did not connect the cases until more than 10 months after the first death, and what obligation the hospital had to inform parents — and the community — of the outbreak.
Those questions take on greater urgency, experts say, because deadly fungal infections, while still rare, appear to be on the rise nationwide.
An estimated 75,000 patients with infections picked up in health care facilities die in hospitals each year, according to figures released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.