NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Flesh-eating bacteria found on hospital linens was responsible for the deaths of at least five premature babies in 2008 and 2009, parents of one baby claim in court.
Cassandra Gee and Terrel Jones sued Children's Hospital and TLC Services Inc., in Orleans Parish Court.
Gee gave birth to a son, Tyrel, on July 28, 2008. He was immediately transferred to the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, having been born at 26 weeks gestation.
The parents say in the lawsuit that Tyrel's condition was improving "until on or about August 21, 2008, when petitioner Cassandra Gee noticed an area of irritation in the groin of her young child."
"The area of irritation spread extremely rapidly, ultimately becoming what appeared to petitioner to be an open wound with extreme discoloration which was obviously causing extreme pain and suffering to her young child Tyrel Gee."
Tyrel died on Aug. 25, 2008, from what his doctors described as sepsis, and until recently, his parents did not question the cause of death.
However, Gee says that on April 16 this year, she found an article on the New Orleans Times-Picayune website, nola.com, detailing "a report to be published regarding five deaths that occurred at Children's Hospital in 2008 and 2009. Much to the shock and dismay of petitioner, the description of one of the children that died matched identically with that of her son Tyrel Gee. Specifically, the birth date published of the child was July 12, 2008, and the child was described to have been born at 26 weeks gestation.
"Additionally, the article discussed the fact that Tyrel Gee had contracted and/or come in contact with a flesh eating bacteria known as mucorycosis," according to the complaint.
Tyrel's parents claim they were unaware he died from contact with the bacteria until reading the article, and say they discovered he contracted the bacteria via the bed sheets used in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital.
Defendant TLC Services Inc. provides the hospital with its linens. The parents claim the company failed to follow proper sanitization procedures to prevent the linens from becoming contaminated.
They seek damages for negligence and medical and funeral expenses.
They are represented by T. Carey Wicker III of Capitelli and Wicker in New Orleans.