Dangerous Fungus Infection Takes Life of Northwestern Memorial Patient

A suburban Chicago woman receiving treatment at Northwestern Memorial for Lupus related issues has died from the drug-resistant Candida auris fungus. The most recent outbreak of the super fungus is responsible for the 158 known cases across Illinois since 2016. The family of the patient believe she became infected through a standard intravenous procedure during an intensive care stay. Once a routine blood test detected the infection, the woman was not able to move forward with her Lupus treatments, triggering the fatal outcome.

The family was not aware that Candida auris had also infected other patients at Northwestern during this time and they have since spoken out. Although the medical staff was very supportive, they stated that perhaps if knowledge of the dangerous fungus risk factors had been present through better transparency between the hospital and family members, additional prevention measures could have been taken to prevent her untimely death.

Learn more about why Candida auris is a deadly infection.

Super Fungus Cases Are Not Publicly Announced

Although the state is ranked second in the nation for most Candida auris cases, Illinois health systems and nursing home facilities still aren’t openly discussing or sharing case reports on the growing issue with the public, possibly putting others at risk. State health agencies also haven’t been too quick to launch an announcement of which sites are infected because of what they call “a risk of scaring the public unnecessarily.”

The fungus, which is a yeast, is most noticeably found throughout patient rooms, on the skin of patients, and daily use medical tools and devices. Four out of five patients with Candida auris will have had an intravenous infusion and half or more have a feeding or breathing tube or urinary catheter, all standard procedures used in both hospital and nursing home settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report nearly half of those who contract it die within just 90 days.

The super fungus can be deadly for patients with an already compromised or weakened immune system and infections can occur in any health care setting. Administrators and health care staff must be actively working to reduce infections  to help patients and their family members feel confident that they are in safe hands. Infections in health care settings can result in medical malpractice lawsuits and nursing home neglect lawsuits.

Hospital Facilities and Nursing Homes Should Be Working to Reduce Infections

If you suspect unsafe medical practices responsible for the super fungus spread in an Illinois health care facility or the mistreatment of a severe infection in a patient as the cause of their illness or untimely death, please contact Levin & Perconti. Our experienced team of attorneys handles cases throughout the city of Chicago, surrounding suburbs and the entire state of Illinois, including major lawsuits involving nursing home-acquired infections.

Please, contact us now for a FREE consultation at 312-332-2872 in Chicago, toll-free at 1-877-374-1417, or by completing our online case evaluation form.