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Germany

Investigation exonerates staff of babies' deaths in German clinic

Hospital workers in Mainz, where three infants recently died of bacterial infections, have been cleared of any blame.

An IV going into a child's wrist

Investigators are still looking for answers

Hospital workers in the German city of Mainz, where three infants recently died of bacterial infections, have been cleared of any blame.

Klaus-Peter Mieth, the state prosecutor leading the investigation into the deaths, said on Friday that the infants most likely died as the result of damaged intravenous drip-feed bottles that had been become infected.

He said he believed the damage had occurred between the bottles being filled and delivered to the clinic.

Irene Kraemer, director of the hospital pharmacy, told the dpa news agency there had been no visible sign of anything being wrong with the bottles.

"It was presumably a hairline crack," she said, adding that the concentration of bacteria in the amino-acid solution was not high enough to make the liquid cloud.

She said she was relieved at the findings.

"My greatest fear was that the cause would never be found and that we would spend the rest of our lives worried and uncertain," she said.

The investigators initially thought the infection that claimed the lives of the three babies - two of whom had congenital heart conditions and one whom was born very prematurely - came from the equipment used to mix their parenteral nutrition.

Now that has been ruled out, they are faced with the task of establishing how and when the bacteria came to be in the bottle.

Author: Tamsin Walker (dpa/AFP)

Editor: Sean Sinico

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