Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital has closed its neonatal intensive care ward because of a serious bacterial infection.
The ward handles premature babies, some weighing as little as 500 grams, who are extremely vulnerable to infections that are harmless to full-term babies.
Officials believe crowded conditions allowed the infection to spread. They say 41 babies currently in their care will remain at the hospital – but several of the infants have developed abscesses, pneumonia, eye and blood infections.
The closing is expected to last for weeks – with at-risk babies and pregnant mothers most likely being sent to other cities, out of province or even to the U-S for care.
This NICU is definitely in need of renovation.
In an article written for Toronto Life magazine back in December’05 a mom who had a premature baby at Women’s said this:
Women’s (pictured, right) has one of only three Level III nurseries in the city, with a widely respected medical team offering the highest degree of care available for neonates. There are an average of 24 babies in the high-risk unit at any one time. The space is cramped, with isolettes and medical equipment jockeying for position with nurses, nurse practitioners, neonatologists, fellows, residents, parents and visitors. In fact, though the province recommends 150 square feet per child, at Women’s each isolette is allotted only between 30 and 40 square feet. (This, not surprisingly, is one of the reasons the unit is scheduled to relocate by spring 2009 to a proposed state-of-the-art facility at Sunnybrook.)
Let’s hope that there aren’t any casualties as a result of this outbreak. In December there were two outbreaks which lead to NICU closings and 2 babies dieing. The PICU and NICU at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles was closed on December 15th and The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NICU in England was closed on Dec 22.