Family of Child Who Died in Geisinger NICU Plans Lawsuit

GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER -- The family of one of three infants to die from an infection contracted in the NICU at Geisinger Medical Center is suing the hospital.

The family's attorney plans to file the lawsuit next week.

According to attorney Matt Casey, Abel Cepeda died six days after his premature birth.

Casey tells Newswatch 16 Geisinger knew about the bacteria in the neonatal intensive care unit but did not protect the patients.

Luis Cepeda of Hazle Township recently posted a family picture to his Facebook page. It shows his wife Zuleyka Rodriguez and their son Abel Cepeda. Abel died six days after he was born in the neonatal intensive care unit at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville.

The family's attorney announced he plans to file a lawsuit against Geisinger on behalf of the family. He says Abel died from a pseudomonas infection in Geisinger's NICU on September 30.

On Monday, Geisinger officials announced an increase in cases of pseudomonas infection at the hospital's NICU. According to Geisinger officials, an infant in the NICU first contracted the infection in early July. In early August, another infant in the NICU died from the infection. A few weeks later, more babies got sick and two more died, including Abel.

Casey told Newswatch 16 the hospital knew about the problem but did not protect the patients, which resulted in the death of Abel Cepeda.

A spokesperson for Geisinger said in a statement:

"We express our deepest sympathies and provide our full support to the families and loved ones who have been affected."

Geisinger officials said their Department of Infection Prevention is working hard to find the source of the bacteria. For the time being, Geisinger is diverting some patients to other hospitals. This includes women likely to deliver at less than 32 weeks and babies born at less than 32 weeks. As for the other infants, Geisinger officials say four were treated and are doing well. one is still getting treatment and responding positively.

Casey says at this point, he is only representing one of the families whose infant died in Geisinger's NICU. He plans to file the lawsuit next week.

16 comments

  • Rusty Knyffe

    This is what I posted that “offended” someone bad enough to “cancel” it.

    “What the average person does not comprehend is that bacteria is rampant in medical facilities – from dentists to ER units, staff and maintenance do their best to keep these places sanitized. Because of overuse and abuse of antibiotics as recently as 2015, the auto-immune systems of human beings have been ruined which makes treating at-risk patients even more difficult. A premature infant is so vulnerable that anything (including a chill) can cause a desperate medical situation to spiral into incurable.

    I am terribly sorry for the loss that these parents have suffered. Hopefully, some good will come from their actions.”

    It is dreadful that anyone has to bury their own child, particularly a newborn. What is even more dreadful is that an attorney is prepared to capitalize on that loss and convince grieving parents that MONEY will vindicate their loss.

  • Mark Thepoll

    You had a big loss, but what does suing the hospital do for you? Will money help with that loss, Do you actually think that such a suit will help others, or are you simply seeking punishment with a reward?

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