In an apparent negligent incident that has potentially caused serious harm to more than 30 infants born prematurely at a North Carolina hospital due to their exposure to Swine Flu. These infants are being given precautionary swine flu treatments after officials said a respiratory therapist may have exposed them to the virus.
So far, none of the 33 babies at the neonatal intensive care unit at the Women’s Hospital of Greensboro show signs of any symptoms of the disease. Medical Director Dr. Tim Lane said the infants are still being quarantined from other babies and are being treated with Tamiflu as a precaution.
“We’re taking them as a group,” Lane said of the separation. “We don’t know for sure if any of those babies are infected or not.” Lane said the babies were treated this week by a respiratory therapist who five days earlier had treated an adult patient at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro for possible asthma. The male patient later tested positive for the H1N1 virus.
The therapist had worked a 12-hour shift in the babies’ unit Monday when health officials contacted her the next day about her exposure to the patient. She said she had been sick over the weekend but felt fine when she came to work.
Chief Nursing Officer Joan Wessman said it’s common for respiratory therapists from the five-hospital system to travel to different locations and treat patients of different ages. The therapist is now at home and is being treated with Tamiflu while the hospital waits for lab results. State health officials will have those by either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
Lane said the premature infants suffer from ailments such as inadequate lung development. “We’re observing those babies very carefully,” he said. Wessman said any visitors or employees who may have been exposed will be offered Tamiflu. They also will be checked before entering the neonatal unit. “Everyone is being screened,” she said. “We’re asking them if they’ve been sick in the last seven days.” Wessman said parents are still allowed to visit and hold their infants
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