LAS VEGAS – It is believed that the cause of the Las Vegas Summerlin Hospital TB outbreak is linked to the death of Vanessa White.
White, 25, a Las Vegas resident, likely became infected with a rare strain of TB after consuming unpasteurized products.
She was pregnant with twins and her husband says she went to the emergency room at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center numerous times complaining of various symptoms but was never tested for TB.
After she gave birth at Summerlin Hospital she was released from the hospital while her premature newborns were still in the hospital and was allowed visits with her children while she was reportedly very ill.
Her health rapidly deteriorated and she was transferred to a California hospital where she died on July 1.
Her newborn premature twins, Abigail and Emma, also died.
After White’s death an autopsy revealed that she was infected with TB.
Since then, Summerlin Hospital has come under fire from the state Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance for not recognizing the symptoms of TB and for not taking basic precaution to stop the infection from spreading.
Summerlin hospital officials continue to claim that they conducted a proper screening of White, including screening her for TB, and maintained that any exposure to others would be minimal.
Tuberculosis is, in fact, highly contagious.
It is spread through the air. Coughing, chest pain, fever and extreme fatigue are some of the most common symptoms.
In Oct. 2013, the Southern Nevada Health District began asking that patients who were in neonatal unit at Summerlin Hospital between May and early August come in for testing.
Since that time the Las Vegas Summerlin hospital TB outbreak is now linked to nearly 60 people that now have the disease.
Some of the cases are dormant, however, even in dormant cases there is the chance that it can develop into an active highly contagious form of the disease.
White’s husband Rueben White is suing the hospital. His attorney Ryann Dennett said that White “was never tested and treated for a curable disease”.
A civil lawsuit has been filed against the hospital by some former employees, staff and patients of the hospital.
White was originally brought to the Spring Valley Emergency Room in Southwest Las Vegas and was sent to Summerlin Hospital. Although the focus has been on Summerlin Hospital, there is the possibility that others could have been infected at Spring Valley.