Mother of MRSA victim speaks out

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – The mother of a newborn who died at a local hospital during a MRSA outbreak is looking for answers. A staph infection shutdown the newborn intensive care unit at Chippenham Hospital for several weeks. The outbreak sickened ten infants, and claimed the life of Shala Cooper's son.

"He had big brown eyes and he liked to look and listen," said Cooper.

She's talking about her baby boy, Josiah, or Jo-Jo for short. The baby weighed less than 2 pounds when he was born at Southside Regional Medical Center on August 16th.

"Because he was so small they sent him to Chippenham because they're more equipped to deal with premature babies," said Cooper.

Jo-Jo was doing well at the Chippenham hospital said Cooper, she added, "I expected I'd be there every day to breast feed and after about 3 months he'd come home."

That homecoming never happened. Jo-Jo died on September 2nd. Cooper says she was told her newborn contracted an infection.

"They told me it was a staph infection and then the doctor told me what type of staph infection which was MRSA," said Cooper.

Cooper says antibiotics given to Jo-Jo caused his body to swell.

"I feel that he was little and this battle was too big for him and he needed to rest," said Cooper.

The hospital closed its neonatal intensive care unit after the staph bacteria outbreak which sickened 10 other infants.

In a statement a spokesperson with the Chippenham Hospital says, "The family has our profound sympathy. Our caregivers are deeply saddened when we lose a patient, and particularly a child. The spread of resistant infections like MRSA is a serious, national issue for hospitals, and we are currently involved with the Centers for Disease Control and Harvard in a study to find better ways to combat this pervasive disease. The health and safety of our patients remain our highest priority."

Cooper wants answers.

"I want to know how this happened to him and the other 10 babies. I don't have any answers. I have a million and one questions," she said.

Cooper is still waiting for an autopsy report on her son's death.

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