St. Cloud Hospital, Health Officials Investigate Suspend Nurse Following Infection Outbreak

An investigation by St. Cloud (Minn.) Hospital and the Minnesota Department of Health found a nurse's improper conduct led to an outbreak of bloodstream bacterial infections among 23 patients, according to a hospital news release.

The preliminary investigation has focused on patients who were hospitalized in one unit from Oct. 2010-early March 2011. The preliminary investigation suggests the infection occurred because a nurse may have inadvertently introduced bacteria into IV bags of painkillers while diverting drugs for personal use. St. Cloud Hospital has suspended the nurse and a criminal investigation is under way.

Hospital officials said they have followed proper reporting procedures with local, state and national regulatory bodies and federal authorities, and there is no evidence to suggest that transmission of bloodborne pathogens occurred.

St. Cloud Hospital responded to the situation with a series of immediate steps, including removal of all patient-controlled IV bags containing pain medication and replacing them with new bags. The hospital has also tested the pain medication bags, other supplies and environmental sources for presence of the bacteria.

Read the hospital news release about St. Cloud Hospital's infections.

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