The National Burns Centre at Middlemore Hospital has had to limit patient admissions following several cases of drug-resistant infections.
Three patients have been infected at the South Auckland hospital since December.
On December 10 one case of carbapenem-resistant organisms (CRO) was identified at the centre. Carbapenems are a powerful group of antibiotics often relied on for infections where treatment with other antibiotics have failed.
Another patient in the burns/ICU unit was found to be infected on January 9 and a third patient identified on February 3.
Acting chief medical officer Vanessa Thornton said the multi-drug resistant organisms were often detected and managed in hospitalised patients. However this was a unique organism, believed to have been acquired overseas.
She said it was particularly concerning because burns patients were very vulnerable. The majority of patients and the visiting public are not at any risk.
“CROs can have serious implications for patients such as burns patients and we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure these cases are contained, managed and eliminated before they spread further.
“All three infected patients are in isolation and one theatre has been reserved for their exclusive use. Restricting the transfer of patients to the burns/ICU is a crucial step in eradicating these organisms,” Thornton said.
Patients with burns will now be treated by regional burns centres until the risk is contained at the NBC. Very serious burns cases may be transferred to Australia on a case-by-case basis, Thornton said.
“Patient safety is paramount and these alternative arrangements are being put in place to ensure the protection of our most vulnerable burns patients.”
Source: NZ Herald