Fort Wayne Observed has previously called the hospital infection rate by MRSA and other staph one of the great undercovered stories in Fort Wayne. In fact, FWOb made that statement nearly a year ago on March 29, 2006.
It is now the subject of a story by the Indianapolis WISH TV 8 I-Team. Former Fort Wayne television reporter Karen Hensel has the story which includes disclosure of a 200 patient outbreak in staph infections at Parkview Memorial Hospital.
Ms. Hensel reported:
You go to the hospital to get better, not sicker. There are growing calls for hospitals to report how many patients get an infection while in the hospital. I-Team 8 has spent months in a statewide investigation examining hospital-acquired infections.
Two million Americans get preventable infections every year. The most common, and deadly, is a staph infection known as MRSA. Some experts say it's epidemic. If that many people get sicker in hospitals, why isn't the state of Indiana tracking it?
Even more troubling, I-Team 8 has uncovered what Indiana hospitals want to keep hidden. If 90,000 Americans die from hospital acquired infections every year, how many are Hoosiers and why doesn't the state of Indiana know?
"There is no way to always know that the infection was acquired in the hospital," said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Judith Monroe.
Christy Greene knows, but she didn't know it at the time. Her newborn son Logan carried bacteria that caused a serious staph infection. He brought it home from the hospital and passed it on to his two-year-old sister, Sydney. Twelve weeks later, Sydney became so ill she required two surgeries.
"I was lucky. Mine's alive, thankfully," Greene said.
Both Sydney and Logan were among more than 200 victims of a dangerous staph epidemic at a Fort Wayne hospital. Greene is one of dozens who filed a lawsuit.
"That's somebody's life. That's not a mistake. You knew. You didn't tell me. Never gave me an option. You call that a mistake?" she said.
The state does not even know if Parkview Hospital reported the outbreak. All Indiana hospitals are supposed to report outbreaks of certain kinds of infections, but they are on an honor system. In fact, the state's germ expert told I-Team 8 no outbreaks were reported over the past six years.
WISH is a sister station of WANE TV News Chanel 15. Both are owned by LIN Broadcasting. It can be expected that News Channel 15 will be rebroadcasting parts of the WISH I-Team story.