Last Legionnaires’ baby not yet strong enough to breathe alone
23 January 2009
Makarios Hospital paediatric department head Dr Andreas Hadjidemetriou said the infant was currently undergoing a combined treatment of mechanical ventilation and nasal CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).
“Nasal CPAP is a treatment that assists in the baby’s breathing as it isn’t yet strong enough to do so alone,” he said.
But the child was still unable to permanently cope without mechanical ventilation, he said.
“We monitor its condition and when it needs to be put back on the ventilator it is,” he said.
The switch from ventilator to nasal CPAP could take place three times within a 24-hour period, he said.
“Over the next few days we will keep it on the ventilator and then take it off again with support from nasal CPAP,” he said.
Hadjidemetriou was hopeful the infant would make a full recovery.
“Its condition is continuously stable but it still needs a lot of help. We have a long way to go,” he said.
Speaking to reporters from Paphos yesterday, Health Minister Christos Patsalides said that he had the utmost faith in Makarios Hospital’s doctors regarding the infant’s treatment. He added that the ministry was also in constant communication with medical experts from abroad.
Asked when the Hippocration private hospital would be allowed to reopen its inpatient wards, Patsalides said this would only happen when all necessary tests had been conducted and safety inspections gave it the all clear.
“When the experts determine the hospital is safe, only then will be allowed to operate,” he said.
Patsalides added that the legal service, Attorney-general’s office and police were currently investigating the incident to determine whether anyone was accountable for the outbreak and where, if necessary, to apportion responsibility. He said their work had to be thorough because three children had died after becoming afflicted with the rare type of pneumonia.
Eleven infants born at Nicosia’s Hippocration private hospital between December 17 and 27 developed Legionnaires’ disease. The newborns had all been discharged healthy but developed symptoms a few days later and were rushed to Makarios Hospital for treatment. Three of the children have died while seven others completed their treatment and were released. The private hospital closed down its inpatient wards, including its maternity and neonatal unit, within days of the outbreak. The hospital still operates as normal on an outpatient basis.
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2009