IV Solutions from TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) Feeding Method Contaminated, Causes the Deaths of 9 Patients

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Alabama medical investigators say infections linked to a contaminated liquid nutrition supplement could have begun two months before officials realized there was a widespread problem at state hospitals.

Dr. Donald WIlliamson, Director, Alabama Department of Public Health: “The investigation has identified 19 patients in six hospitals that received TPN who developed serratia marcescens bacteremia — bacteria in the bloodstream. Of those 19 patients, nine, unfortunately, have died.”

The serratia marcescens bacteria-contaminated IVs responsible for the patients’ deaths have been traced back to Meds IV, a Birmingham-based pharmacy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parenteral nutrition (PN) is defined as feeding a person intravenously, instead of the usual process of eating and digestion. Total Parental Nutrition is the term used when absolutely no food is given by mouth of other routes, such as enteric feeding — via a nasogastric tube (nose-to-stomach) or a gastric feeding tube (tube-to-stomach via incision in abdomen).