The former Geisinger offices on Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, are seen in 2018. While DNA testing recently confirmed the source, Geisinger said it changed its process in late September, switching to single-use equipment.
A Pennsylvania hospital said Friday it has discovered the source of a waterborne germ that sickened at least eight premature infants, killing three.
Geisinger Medical Center said the infection that sickened eight babies and killed three is related to preparation of donated breast milk.
According to a release from Geisinger, investigators confirmed the source of the pseudomonas bacteria exposure came from the process the hospital was using to prepare donor breast milk. The hospital has since switched to single-use equipment.
The deaths, he said, "may have been a result of the infection complicating an already vulnerable state".
The bacteria is only a threat to extremely fragile patients. "We know that the public holds us to the highest standards, and we will continue to strive to live up to those expectations as we have throughout our history, constantly improving on what we do and how we do it", Hartle said. We have had no new cases of infants becoming ill from pseudomonas in the NICU since making this change.
The Department of Health (DOH) visited our Danville campus on October 18 to review our practices and cited us for not having a written policy for cleaning equipment used to measure donor breast milk to reflect the changes made on September 30.
The Geisinger Medical Center did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment.
Hartle stressed that breast milk is the best food for infants, including premature ones, and that mothers should have no concerns about the safety of their own breast milk.
"We would like to extend our honest apologies to the families who have been affected by this incident", Hartle's statement read.
We would like to extend our honest apologies to the families who have been affected by this incident.
Geisinger is continuing to divert mothers delivering at less than 32 weeks and babies born prematurely at less than 32 weeks to different hospitals until the Department of Health determines an appropriate time to resume normal operations.