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Chinese hospital found responsible for newborn deaths
Updated: 2008-10-13 22:33

BEIJING - China's Ministry of Health Monday confirmed a hospital in northwestern Shaanxi Province held responsibility for eight newborn deaths and the resulting cover-up.

The ministry announced a detailed report on the investigation of the eight babies who died after contracting infection between September 5-15 at the No. 1 hospital affiliated with the College of Medicine of Xi'an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi's capital.

Investigators tested the hands of doctors and nurses involved, objects in hospital rooms, feeders and rubber nipples the babies used, as well as incubators they stayed in. The results revealed they were polluted by bacteria such as golden staph and Klebsiella pneumoniae, the report said.

The hospital's neonatology department had "obvious flaws" in disinfection and isolation, it said. Appliances used for infants were not disinfected in the right way; doctors and nurses didn't clean their hands as they should; the anticoagulant injections used were not marked with a validity period.

The hospital administration failed to apply the government regulation on hospital infection management. It didn't set up an independent department of infection control or assign enough medical workers to carry out the work, the report said.

Due to lax management, the hospital neither monitored the infection cases nor controlled the outbreak.

It also didn't report the newborn deaths to the health department, the report said. "There were facts of covering up a serious hospital infection."

Two hospital chiefs, president Ma Aiqun and vice president Lu Yi, were fired on September 28.

Liu Li, the hospital's neonatology department director, and Guo Xi'er, the department's head nurse, were also fired for dereliction of duty. Five other hospital officials in medical affairs, infection-control and medical care departments were also dismissed.