Officials Probe Fresno Hospital Infections That Harmed Patients

Doctors with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating bacterial infections that sickened at least a dozen heart surgery patients and may have contributed to the deaths of two of them at a Fresno hospital.

The outbreak occurred between May and July at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno. But the two patients who died were both transfers from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fresno, which doesn't have its own cardiac surgery program.

Kaiser stopped sending heart patients to Saint Agnes last month.

Saint Agnes officials say the rate of infections was nearly twice the acceptable rate for heart patients this summer but has since returned to normal.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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