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Police launch investigation into contaminated hospital feed baby deaths

Arti Shah
In June 2014, there was an outbreak of cases concerning premature babies who had been affected by suspected contaminated hospital feed. Shortly after, Fieldfisher were contacted to represent the family of Yousef Al-Kharboush, who sadly passed away after receiving the suspected contaminated feed intravenously. The Guardian has recently reported that a police investigation has now been launched into the deaths of 3 of the babies.

At the time, Public Health England (PHE) reported that a Bacillus Cereus bacterium was "strongly linked" to intravenous feeds given to the babies directly into their blood stream, and PHE's Incident Director, Professor Mike Catchpole, stated that the likely source of infection had been identified. The feeds supplied were manufactured by ITH Pharma Ltd.

The matter was reported to Dr Andrew Harris, Southwark Coroner, who opened an Inquest into the death of Yousef on 1 June 2014, calling his death "unnatural" and directing further investigations to take place. The Inquest is due to resume when the outcome of these investigations have been completed.

Arti Shah, representing the family with Paul McNeil, commented:

"The horrific discovery of the outbreak in June, especially the number of babies that had been affected whilst they were being cared for in the Special Care Baby Units of Guys and St Thomas' Hospital has led to a number of fatalities. A greater loss was avoided because the bacterium was identified and many of the babies were treated with the appropriate antibiotics and thankfully, survived. The police have now been asked to investigate at least 3 deaths.

To date, we understand that ITH Pharma Ltd have advised that the suspected contamination has been traced to a single raw ingredient used in the feed, but have not indicated what the ingredient is, or who supplied it to them. The family are very keen to establish the facts so appropriate measures are taken to avoid further deaths."

You can read more about this story here, and also on the Guardian website.

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