Hospital expands capacity for premature babies after newborn deaths in Jamaica

Cornwall-Regional-Hospital-640x425KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday October 26, 2015 – The Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) is expanding its capacity to accommodate additional premature babies following the recent deaths of several newborns from a bacterial infection.

Cornwall is one of two hospitals where outbreaks of klebsiella and serratia bacteria occurred. The other was the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). A total of 42 babies fell ill since the first outbreak in June, with 18 of them dying.

Following a report on the matter, it was decided that steps would be taken to further expand the nursery at CRH to accommodate more premature babies.

In addition, the institution will be hiring more registered nurses and Patient Care Assistants to increase the hospital’s nurse to patient ratio.

“The hospital will also look at acquiring additional critical equipment for the nursery as we continue to await developments in the Programme for the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC) project, which is geared towards the provision of high dependency neonatal units at the CRH,” a statement from the hospital said, noting that there have been no new infections at Cornwall Regional since October 14.

It added that the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology team, assisted by the Pan American Health Organization, continues to provide technical support and monitoring to the management of the CRH and the Western Regional Health Authority.

“Having studied the situation, the management of the hospital has determined that whenever admission to the neonatal nursery exceeds its normal maximum of 22 babies, there is a risk of a recurrence of the problem. However, instead of placing a cap on the number of admissions, given the regional nature of the institution, the Board has decided to expand the capacity,” the statement added.

The hospital management acknowledged that the hospital, which has a capacity of only 400 beds, is overburdened. Between January and August, this year, it received 11,559 admissions.

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