Prince George’s Hospital Center will reopen its neonatal intensive care unit Tuesday, nearly two months after discovering potentially dangerous bacteria in the water system.
According to a statement issued Monday night, several changes will be made throughout the Cheverly hospital and its NICU, which treats infants born prematurely and suffering serious illnesses. Officials said during a news conference in August the bacteria known as Pseudomonas seeped into the unit’s water system.
“State authorities have identified some deficiencies related to policies and performance processes in the NICU,” said Sherry B. Perkins, executive vice president and chief operation officer for Dimensions Healthcare System, which oversees the hospital. “As a result, our hospital will have increased reporting requirements to state legislators.”
Some of the upgrades are:
• Treatment and disinfection of the NICU water system by an independent water company;
• Implementation of a comprehensive, long-term water monitoring plan with an environmental health and safety specialist; and
• Update training for staff on hospital policies, use of equipment and other elements in the neonatal unit.
The hospital transferred nine infants in August from the neonatal unit to Children’s National Medical System in the District. Three of those babies tested positive for Pseudomonas, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies as potentially deadly, especially for those with a weak immune system, and prevalent in hospital settings.
Dimensions along with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) submitted a modified application Aug. 31 to build a proposed medical center in Largo. If approved, it would replace the 70-plus-year-old hospital in Cheverly.
The Maryland Health Care Commission must grant a “certificate of need” to ensure the building would be financially feasible in Prince George’s County. The commission could grant approval in the fall, but the project wouldn’t be scheduled for completion until July 2020.
The Largo building would be an 11-story, state-of-the-art structure with cancer and trauma centers, behavioral health services and a neonatal intensive care unit. The building would serve residents in Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.