Family fight over superbug death claim
A CANCER patient whose treatment at Ipswich Hospital provoked a complaint from her family has died after contracting the superbug MRSA.Now her family has alleged there was poor hygiene on her ward in the days leading up to her death.
A CANCER patient whose treatment at Ipswich Hospital provoked a complaint from her family has died after contracting the superbug MRSA.
Now her family has alleged there was poor hygiene on her ward in the days leading up to her death.
The woman's distraught daughter Lesley Andrews said: "I have a massive sense of bitterness and have lost all faith in the National Health Service.
Mrs Andrews says she lost count at the number of times she complained to hospital staff but believed her grievances had fallen on deaf ears. She said she tried the gentle approach and also got very angry but neither way had the desired effect.
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"Come the end, my mother was begging me not to make fuss. She pleaded with me to keep quiet but I couldn't just stand by and watch."
The 63-year-old patient was being treated for lymphoma cancer and was admitted to hospital at the beginning of April.
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On admittance she was asked if she wished to be resuscitated in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest (CPR) and she said she did. However relatives later discovered that her mother's notes indicated the opposite - NFR, not for resuscitation, had been written by a junior doctor.
That blunder prompted a review of procedures by the hospital.
Then the 63-year-old contracted MRSA. In healthy people this is not dangerous, but it can be very serious for people with low immune systems.
The family claims that hygiene levels were not high enough to minimise the risk of their mother contracting the bug and when they discovered she had caught it, her personal hygiene was not stepped up to the required levels.
"Although mum had a skin wash, the bug lives in the hair and not once was her hair washed."
The family was angered that she was on a ward in which beds were showing signs of rust - and Mrs Andrews took pictures to show the rust patches.
Clearly enraged by the way her mother was treated Mrs Andrew said she did not intend to let matters rest just because her mother had died.
"I 've no time for grieving at the moment, I'm still too bitter. I have kept a diary of everything that's happened and intend fighting this all the way.
"I'm sure they think we are the most dreadful family that's ever existed but I'm not finished yet," she said.
Although on the death certificate it states cancer as the cause of death, Mrs Andrews believes it was MRSA that killed her mother.
"Two weeks before my mum died the specialist said it was not the cancer that was killing her.
"To prove it was MRSA I would have to request a post mortem. My mother was adamant she did not wish to be cut up and I am not prepared to go against her wishes."
A hospital spokeswoman said they had not heard from Mrs Andrews or any other members of her family since her mother's death.
"This is clearly an angry and grief-stricken family and we are very sorry for their distress and their extremely sad loss," she said.
"We are also very sorry that there has been a breakdown in trust between the family and ourselves.
"We strive to provide the highest quality of care possible to our patients and this is certainly the case for Mrs Andrews' mother.
"Senior clinicians and managers have been in contact with Mrs Andrews on behalf of her family to try to address all of the ongoing issues which she has raised"
The hospital accepted some beds were showing signs of rust.
"We have invested at least £250,000 in replacement mattresses across the trust because it is the mattresses which are more important for the comfort of the patients.
"We accept there are a few bed which have had the plastic cover worn away to expose the bare metal and in some cases there is a slight lining of rust on the bed."