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Tainted Bottle Caps Sicken

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ntaminated intravenous-fluids bottle made by a Chicago área drug ñrm, which have resulted in eight deaths from septicemia at Detroit's Ford Hospital, are used at Ann Arbor's St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, but not at University of Michigan Hospital. However, there have been no deaths írom septicemia, a form of blood poisoning, at the local hospital which uses the caps, made by Abbott Laboratories of Chicago. But the rate of infection at St. Joseph's was 2h times normal in December, affecting 18 persons. Larry Anderson, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital assistant administrator, said this morning that directions were distributed today to personnel throughout the hospital on procedures for handling products and materials to prevent septicemic poisoning. He said the directive followed a warning issued yesterday by the FDA and national Infectious Disease Control Center in Atlanta, Ga., and subsequent meetings last night of hospital committees. The Ann Arbor hospital was one ■muil of eight in the. U.S. to piek up the increase in septicemia and relay the information to Atlanta, resulting in pinpointing the source of infection, Anderson said. University Hospital doesn't use and never has used the Abbott drug íirm's caps on its intravenous fluids bottles, according to George L. Phillips, director of pharmaeutical services at the hospital and U-M assistant professor of pharmacy. Phillips said University Hospital uses the Baxter system involving rubber plugs, which can be thoroughly sterilized, i n s t e a d of the plastic "bottle type" cap made by the North Chicago firm. The latter cap is hard to make bacteriafree. The germs get under the plastic I liners of the caps. In addition to the persons who died from the infection at Ford Hospital, 52 others were infected but cured, investigators from the federal Disease Control Center in Atlanta reported. Dr. Edward Quinn, chief of Ford's j infectious disease section, said all eight patients who died were terminally ill with cáncer or near death from stroke and were especially vulnerably to infec j tion. The other 52 were younger and Ê healthier and suffered only mild 1 toms of poisoning. The disease control center counted 150 ■ cases of blood poisoning throughout the ■ country. Dr. Eugene Britt, St. Joseph Mercy I Hospital microbiologist, said septicemia I infections began to rise at the hospital I last July from a normal rate of three to I seven cases per month to 10 to 15, and a I research program to spot the cause was I instituted. He said Dr. Verne Hoshal, a resident, I sampled bottles in the pharmacy and I checked needies and other equipment I but failed to find the culprit bacteria. "We were hitting our heads against a I