An aggressive bacterial infection has claimed the life of a fourth baby at a hospital in Tampico, Tamaulipas.
A one-month-old baby girl died at the Dr. Carlos Canseco General Hospital on Sunday. State health authorities revealed last week that three other babies had died at the same facility after becoming infected with Acinetobacter baumannii, an almost round-shaped bacterium that is especially dangerous to people with compromised or undeveloped immune systems.
Blanca Patricia Santos González, the 25-year-old mother of the infant who passed away two days ago, accused the hospital of negligence, claiming that staff mistreated her daughter and didn’t use all the medications she was asked to buy.
Santos said she detected bruises on her daughter’s body and that doctors changed their story about the cause of death.
They first said that the bacterial infection had killed Blanca Guadalupe, she claimed, but subsequently contradicted themselves and blamed her and her husband for infecting their daughter with a virus.
Santos said she will file a criminal complaint with the relevant authorities.
Last week, Tamaulipas Health Secretariat undersecretary Mario Cantú revealed that three premature babies had died at the Carlos Canseco Hospital since May 21 as a result of an A. baumannii infection.
He added that five other babies were also infected with the bacterium, which is becoming an increasingly common nosocomial, or hospital-derived, infection.
“The microorganism is very aggressive. Fifteen years ago, very little was heard about these kinds of contaminations but now it’s becoming increasingly common. The reason for this is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics that have become resistant to these microorganisms,” Cantú said.
The official defended hygiene standards in Tamaulipas hospitals, stating “we have very strict handling protocols in intensive care units” that require medical personnel to wash their hands frequently and to change gloves when treating each different patient.
“It’s all very strict, the problem we face in intensive care units is that a pathogen that in your hands or mine doesn’t cause any illness can cause a problem in patients who are immunosuppressed.”
In the aftermath of the first three deaths, the Tamaulipas government suspended both the director of the Carlos Canseco hospital, Luis Antonio Núñez, and the head of epidemiology pending an investigation.
The State Comptroller’s Office said the reason for the employees’ suspension was to guarantee the objectivity, transparency and impartiality of the investigations into the origin and spread of the infection.
The Tampico hospital is not the only health care facility where A. baumannii bacteria has been detected and caused fatalities this year.
The same bacterial infection was blamed for the deaths of three people at the Dr. Juan Graham Casasús Hospital in Villahermosa, Tabasco, and was also detected in patients at public hospitals in Chihuahua.