Safety

Outbreak at children’s hospital targets laundry

Hospital Safety Insider, August 21, 2014

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Hospital Safety Insider!

There's nothing more comforting than a freshly laundered basket of linens.

It's often taken for granted that dirty laundry in a hospital will be properly cleaned, disinfected, and sent back ready to use for the next patient—but recent events show that's not always the case.

An outbreak of a flesh-eating infection at Children's Hospital New Orleans that caused the deaths of at least four children in less than a year sent the hospital on a recent defensive public relations campaign to explain itself, and caused the CDC to reexamine the hospital's policies and laundry procedures.

The outbreak of mucormycosis, which occurred between August 2008 and July 2009, is suspected to have spread partly because of lapses in the hospital's infection controls and sloppy handling of contaminated linens, according to published reports in The New York Times in April.

Among other things, the report alleged that workers unloaded clean linens on the same dock where medical waste was removed, moved clean and soiled linens on the same carts, and stored linens in hospital hallways covered in dust from a nearby construction site.

This is an excerpt from an article in the September issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety. Visit here to log in or subscribe



Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Hospital Safety Insider!

    Hospital Safety Center
  • Hospital Safety Center

    Improve compliance with hospital safety standards from The Joint Commission, OSHA, and other regulators with this...

  • Healthcare Life Safety Compliance

    Created exclusively for healthcare facility managers, plant operations professionals, and directors of engineering, this...

  • Hospital Safety Insider

    Stay on top of hospital safety requirements and best practices with our free, fast-paced weekly update.

  • Basic OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your outpatient...

  • Basic Dental OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your dental...

Most Popular