Dialysis provider Fresenius Medical Care North America shut down a dialysis clinic in Bessemer, Ala. last week after two dialysis patients died and others were hospitalized due to infection-related illnesses.

(Dialysis bloodstream infections significantly reduced by following CDC guidelines)

Fresenius spokesperson Kent Jarrell said the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were called in to investigate the incidences before the dialysis provider shut down the 36-station dialysis clinic on May 8. Jarrell said it remains unclear what the cause or type of infection the dialysis patients incurred and when the clinic would reopen.

“We have not seen a common thread” in identifying the cause of death between the two patients and those hospitalized, Jarrell said. The clinic is associated with the University of Alabama West. Bessemer is located just outside Birmingham.

The Bessemer Kidney Center is one of a dozen dialysis centers in Alabama owned by Fresenius Medical Care North America that have been cited for deficiencies in the past two years, according to AL.com. The majority of the citations were for deficiencies related to infection control, disinfection, hand washing and glove use.

"We are currently in the midst of an investigation with the assistance of the CDC and the Fresenius corporate professionals.  When the investigation is complete, we will have a statement," a representative from Alabama Department of Public Health told NN&I.