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Mysterious Bacterial Blood Infection Affects Dozens of IV Patients

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:19 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Heparin, Defective and Dangerous Products, Medical Malpractice, Medical Devices, Defective Drugs


A blood infection is linked to pre-filled syringes with heparin. CDC and FDA will investigate whether the syringes, the heparin or saline solution is the cause that has sickened dozens

As if they weren't already sick enough, a mysterious IV infection has affected 21 Chicago-area patients and at least 40 patients in Texas and Illinois who were receiving home IV's for diseases such as cancer.

No deaths have been reported but fourteen have been hospitalized since the infections began surfacing earlier this month. The infection causes flu-like symptoms of fever and chills but responds well to antibiotics.

The source of the bacterial infection known as Serratia marcescens, is believed to be the intravenous lines which also used heparin to prevent blood clots according to hospital officials at Rush University Medical Center.

The mystery is whether the heparin, the syringes or the saline used to flush out IVs contain the bacterial contamination. 

Rush was the first institution to report the mysterious infection  of the blood after a number of patients contracted it.

Heparin is the same drug that was given in an overdose recently to the infant twins of actor Dennis Quaid. The twins who initially began bleeding out, have recovered. The Quaids are suing Baxter Healthcare Group.  The heparin in these cases reportedly comes from a different source.   

Sierra Pre-Filled is the Angier, North Carolina company that makes the heparin-filled syringes. The company says the single contaminated batch has been recalled. The CDC and FDA are both conducting investigations.

The contaminated batch has a number of 070926H and doctors and medical facilities should be aware of any contaminated lots that may be on their shelves.


Posted by Lupe Edens
Thursday, December 27, 2007 1:10 PM EST

My mother passed away on December 3 and according to her doctors her blood was infected due to an IV that was infected. What should I do at this point?

Anonymous User
Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, December 28, 2007 10:23 PM EST

Hi Lupe-
I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds as though those doctors may be your best allies now. Do you live in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, Florida or Pennsylvania where the shipments were sent?
Can anyone determine whether the 070926H was the lot number she received? Your county health department will want to know if it is an affirmative to the above as well the CDC. If your doctors can help you gather the information you may want to seek legal advice, even if you don't plan to pursue any action. Best to you and again, our condolences.

Comments for this article are closed.

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