The Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital (UKSH) in Kiel, Germany, was just at the center of attention in January of this year. The reason for this was the multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, which infected 31 patients in critical care over several weeks. The media honed in on the UKSH due to its non-transparent communication.
A 74-year-old man contracted the germ during his trip to Turkey and brought it to the UKSH on December 11, 2014. The UKSH however did not issue a press release until January 23, 2015, in which it stated that the germ was detected in 12 patients and that no more patients would be admitted until further notice. At the same time, it disclosed that three patients had already been infected prior to January, though the first phase of transmission had subsided, yet the germ had now caused outbreaks again.
Since an admission freeze by an intensive care unit is typically a rare occurrence, the press release raised more questions than it actually answered. What caused further uncertainty was the fact that the hospital only revealed after press inquiries that five of the infected patients had died and that it could not definitely preclude the germ being the cause of this. The evidence appeared very non-transparent. The UKSH increasingly became the focus of public attention.