‘Poison’ baby feed sent to hospitals

Dudley’s Russells Hall Hospital received a suspected contaminated batch of a food supplement linked to the death of one baby and the illness in 18 others.

Russells Hall Hospital
Russells Hall Hospital

The hospital is among two in the West Midlands to have taken delivery of the batch – but said that no babies had been given the alleged contaminated treatment.

It comes as 18 babies in nine hospitals across England developed septicaemia after being infected with the bacterium known as Bacillus cereus, Public Health England said.

A baby died from blood poisoning at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, in London, last weekend after being infected by a suspected contaminated intravenous fluid.

PHE today ‘strongly linked’ the cases with a batch of intravenous liquid called parenteral nutrition made by London-based ITH Pharma – which is supposed to deliver a variety of nutrients intravenously when a baby is unable to eat on its own.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the ‘tragic’ incident showed that the health service should ‘never take safety for granted’.

It has emerged that the suspected contaminated batch of fluid had been sent to 22 hospitals including two in Dudley and Birmingham.

Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Paula Clark today confirmed that Russells Hall did receive a single unit of feed from the batch in question which comes in two doses.

She said: “The feed comes in two parts, and the baby who received it was given just one part; they did not receive the part which is under suspicion. Tests have been carried out as a precaution and we can confirm that the baby has not been infected with the bacterium. We can therefore confirm that there are no babies at Russells Hall Hospital affected by the problem.”

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Heartlands Hospital, in Birmingham also confirmed no babies had been affected.