First crash then bug for Kent trucker

TRUCKER Andrew Darby thought life could get no worse than when his 40ft truck flipped over on the A14 and he lay seriously ill in hospital.But just two months after he hailed the wonderful treatment he was getting from Ipswich Hospital in the Evening Star, Mr Darby claims he was discharged with his lungs still full of fluid and ended up being treated in Guy's Hospital for a further four weeks.

By Jessica Nicholls

TRUCKER Andrew Darby thought life could get no worse than when his 40ft truck flipped over on the A14 and he lay seriously ill in hospital.

But just two months after he hailed the wonderful treatment he was getting from Ipswich Hospital in the Evening Star, Mr Darby claims he was discharged with his lungs still full of fluid and ended up being treated in Guy's Hospital for a further four weeks.

After enduring three weeks in hospital with his injuries from the horrific crash near Trimley the 58-year-old said staff at the hospital told him he was fit to go back home to St.Mary's Bay in Kent.

But when he returned home his recuperation turned into a nightmare when he was told by his GP that his lungs were still full of fluid and readmitted him to the William Harvey Hospital in Kent.

Just when he thought he had reached rock bottom he was then told that he was infected with the hospital superbug MRSA and spent four weeks in isolation at Guy's Hospital.

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As MRSA can also be caught in the community as well as in hospital it would be impossible to detect exactly where the bug was contracted.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital confirmed that a clinical review is now in operation to look into Mr Darby's complaint.

She said: "We are very concerned and very sad that Mr Darby had to be readmitted shortly after leaving our hospital.

"Our PALS (Patient Advisory and Liaison Service) manager has been in touch with Mr Darby and we have started a clinical review of Mr Darby's treatment and care.

"The senior consultant is not in the hospital at the moment and is away but as soon as he returns we will be able to complete a thorough investigation."

Mr Darby said that he had been looking forward to returning home to get back to his wife who had tirelessly travelled from Kent to Ipswich during his hospital stay.

But as soon as he reached home he knew that something was still dreadfully wrong.

He said: "Because I was told I was fit to go home, I thought I felt OK.

"But as soon as I got back, Oh God, I felt awful - I was just so weak."

The following day, Mr Darby visited the nurse at his GP's surgery who told him entry wounds from where tubes went into his body were infected and his lungs were still full of fluid.

Mr Darby said: "They sent me straight to casualty and I spent a couple of days in the William Harvey before being sent on to Guy's.

"When I got there I was taken straight into isolation and a note was put on the door saying that anyone who came in to see me had to wear protection.

"I felt so bad, I had to have a blood transfusion and an operation to drain my lungs."

Today Mr Darby is on the mend but he has been told he may never work as a trucker again - a job that he loved so much.

He said: "I still feel a bit weak but I am better than I was. I am able to walk now which I was unable to do before because I was so short of breath."

MRSA factfile:

MRSA - Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - The Staphylococcus Aureus bacterium id found in 20-30 per cent of the noses of healthy people and is also commonly found on people's skin.

Most strains can be effectively treated by antibiotics but MRSA is resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

The bacterium rarely presents a danger to the general public and is usually confined to hospitals and in particular to vulnerable or debilitated patients.

Most patients are colonised by the bug rather than infected - colonisation means the presence of the organism on the skin, in the nose or in the back of the throat without any illness, but if a patient has a fever or inflammation associated with the presence of MRSA they are considered to be infected.

During the first half of 2002, 3500 people were struck down by the potentially fatal superbug MRSA.

The best way to prevent the spread of the antibiotic resistant bug, and other hospital acquired bugs is by careful handwashing and through the isolation of infected patients.

Source and PA

WEBLINKS: www.ipswichhospital.gov.uk

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