Children’s deaths at Louisiana hospital raise questions

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Medical Negligence

The New York Times reports on its front page from New Orleans about four children who died at Children’s Hospital “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 of the deaths 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.” The questions “take on greater urgency, experts say, because deadly fungal infections, while still rare, appear to be on the rise nationwide,” and which “may be because of changes in the environment and a larger pool of vulnerable people with suppressed immune systems because patients are living longer with serious illnesses.”

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