Monarch Med Spa closed after three patients come down with infection; one dies

TIMONIUM - A Timonium med-spa is forced to close down after three patients come down with an invasive infection, with one later dying.  The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ordered Monarch Med Spa to shut down Wednesday.

Representatives with MD DHMH and the Baltimore County Health Department went into Monarch Tuesday.  According to a cease and desist letter sent by DHMH, investigators observed "probably deviations from standard infection control practices".  As a result, they ordered the clinic to close, saying conditions there endanger the public health. 

The visit to the Timonium spa, located at 9608 Deereco Road, came after three patients all came down with the same infection during a six week span.  One of those patients ended up dying.  Health officials are not releasing information about the identities of those patients but say the infection they got is a form of strep called Invasive group A streptococcal disease. 

Investigators aren't sure how the patients were infected.  But officials from DHMH will now be examining the facility.  Baltimore County Health Officer Doctor Gregory Branch says they'll be looking at employees as well as equipment and policies, attempting to find the source.  He says, "We don't know exactly where it comes from.  That's why it's important at this point to stop everything.  Let's figure out what's going on before someone else dies."

The facility issued this statement, "Baltimore Laser Solutions, Inc. d/b/a Monarch Med Spa, has voluntarily agreed to suspend all procedures at its Timonium, Maryland, facility as a precautionary measure pending a definitive epidemiological investigation and determination of cause by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  The decision follows three cases, including one death, involving invasive streptococcal infections that were reported to the Department on or about September 17, 2012. Monarch's primary concern is for the safety and well-being of all of our patients, and we extend our deepest sympathy to deceased patient's family. Our company and its staff are fully cooperating with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in every possible way. Monarch has been in business for eight years and has successfully performed thousands of complication-free surgical procedures performed by licensed health professionals.  The suspected infections are a new development and their possible origins are being closely and carefully investigated."

Dr. Branch says patients who've had procedures at Monarch Med Spa in the last six weeks and are showing any symptoms of this form of strep should see their doctor and call the Baltimore County Health Department or DHMH.  Those symptoms include fever, as well as redness, pain or drainage the sight of the procedure.

***UPDATE:  Consumers who wish to file a complaint against Monarch Medspa related to refunds or contract issues should contact the Maryland Attorney General's Office.  You can reach their Consumer Hotline by calling 410-528-8662.

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