GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A fourth patient at Greenville Memorial Hospital is dead from a rare infection that may have been spread by health workers using tap water before surgery.
Greenville Health System medical quality director Dr. Robert Mobley Jr. said Monday the fourth patient died last week and all suffered complex medical conditions. He says just how the patients were infected by the tap water remains a mystery.
Officials said June 20 that 14 patients tested positive for atypical Mycobacterium abscessus. Most of them had cardiac surgery, while two had abdominal surgery and one a neurological operation.
The first patient recognized with the infection tested positive in March.
Part of the problem is the long incubation period for the bacteria, with some patients having no sign of infection until months after an operation.