The Associated Press reports parents of a newborn who died in a northeast Pennsylvania hospital's neonatal intensive care unit allege in a lawsuit that hospital officials failed to protect their son from a lethal bacterial infection that had already killed two other premature babies.

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The wrongful death suit filed October 17 alleges Geisinger knew the neonatal intensive care unit of its flagship hospital in Danville was "dangerous, defective and contaminated" but continued filling its beds with premature infants and hid the danger from parents.

Abel Cepeda was 5 days old when he died at the hospital September 30. He was the third premature infant in two months to die from an infection caused by the Pseudomonas bacterium, and the eighth to be infected. Geisinger later began diverting very premature infants to other facilities as it works to identify the source of the outbreak.

Geisinger, which operates one of Pennsylvania's largest health networks, declined to answers questions about the suit. Spokesman Matt Van Stone said Geisinger expresses "deepest sympathies" to the affected families and has taken steps to "eradicate the bacteria as well as prevent additional cases."

At a news conference last week, Geisinger officials revealed they first became aware of an unusual spike in infections in early August. Seven of the eight infected babies were born at less than 26 weeks of gestation, and the eighth was born at less than 27 weeks', according to the hospital. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.


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