Campbell County Memorial Hospital said in a press conference Wednesday that information on the three cases of virulent Streptococcus A they treated was released as it became known.
Yet CCMH trustee George Dunlap said people in the hospital knew about the cases and didn’t release the information.
“I think I have to apologize because I heard about this prior to (CCMH spokeswomen Karen Clarke’s) comment that it didn’t happen. I personally allowed it to be told that way. I believe Karen, knowing her personally, would not in anyway mislead the press,” said Dunlap, who said he was speaking on his own behalf and not the board. “I believe she was given bad information.”
When asked on Sept. 5 by the News Record about rumors of a Strep A outbreak, Clarke said they were simply that: rumors.
Hospital officials refused at the press conference to release the date that each of the people were admitted to the hospital, citing privacy laws.
Dunlap said he didn’t speak up because he was tired of being criticized by trustee chairman Brook Bahnson for speaking out about issues at the hospital.
“I find out a lot of what happens from the employees, from people in the community and we knew about this. And I personally blew it to allow this to happen and not stand up because I didn’t want to be criticized and belittled by Mr. Bahnson again,” Dunlap said.
Bahnson was not present at the press conference and declined to comment since he hadn’t heard Dunlap’s speech.
“Somebody knew because I knew. And I was told who in the administration was told about this, and it’s wrong,” Dunlap said. “As a board member, I let the public down and so did I’m sure other board members knew about it to. I do not know that but I definitely knew. ... We have to stand up and do what’s right in the community. And to stick our head in the sand is wrong and I did that. And I apologize to the community.”
Dunlap said after the meeting he didn’t want the public to blame the entire staff of the hospital, especially Clarke, for a few people withholding information.
“There’s a lot of great people that work at the hospital,” Dunlap said. “It’s important that they do not associate everybody at the hospital with this incident.”
Dr. Christopher Brown, the hospital’s infectious disease specialist, confirmed the second and third case of Strep A admitted to the hospital were necrotizing fasciitis. Brown said those two patients came into very close contact with each other and the second patient died as a result of the infection.
The first patient admitted to the hospital about mid-August had a Strep A infection but it did not become necrotizing fasciitis.
“It was a very serious infection. It was group A Strep but it was not necrotizing fasciitis,” Brown said.
Brown said all three cases originated in the public and didn’t come from the hospital itself. While Brown didn’t work on the cases as they were presented, he said his review showed the hospital followed all the appropriate procedures.
The hospital reached out to several world-renowned specialists in those infections to advise the hospital on how to proceed.