Hospital speaks out after bug row

A HEALTH boss has today defended a decision to refuse an elderly patient with a superbug admission to hospital.

A HEALTH boss has today defended a decision to refuse an elderly patient with a superbug admission to hospital.

Andrew Reed, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital, was speaking out after The Evening Star revealed yesterday that 73-year-old Russell Biss was told he could not have a hospital bed.

Mr Biss, who has the clostridium difficile (C-Diff) bug, which causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting, was taken to hospital by ambulance on Monday night after his condition took a turn for the worse.

His family say they were told he could not be admitted because he would need an isolation bed and there were none available, but Mr Reed denies this is the case.

He said: “Yesterday's front page article could easily be misinterpreted to suggest that an elderly patient was refused admission to Ipswich Hospital on the grounds that he was infected with the clostridium difficile bug. This is not the case.

“While clostridium difficile is a serious infection, it is not in its own right a determinant of whether hospital admission is necessary. “In the case of Mr Biss, doctors and nurses at the hospital judged that on clinical grounds he did not require admission, irrespective of the tight bed state of the hospital at the time.”

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Mr Biss's daughter-in-law, Marie Biss, of Bernard Crescent, Ipswich, claims he was so weak that he could not even sit up in bed but that doctors would only admit him after the family refused to take him home.

Mr Reed said: “Mr Biss was eventually admitted, not because he required treatment in an acute hospital setting, but because he lived alone - in other words, the eventual determinant was his social situation.

“This raises a question worthy of wider debate - when hospitals are becoming more focussed on treating those in need of urgent specialist attention, is it appropriate for us to admit patients who may be cared for much more effectively in a nursing home or other community based setting?”

Speaking in response to Mr Reed's comments, Mrs Biss said: “My father-in-law is still in hospital today and he has had six bags of drips.

“His condition has improved virtually 100per cent, but I have no doubt that it would not have done had we taken him home.

“If he did not need to be in hospital, why are they now going to keep him in for a few more days? Why have they put him on a drip?

“I totally disagree with what Mr Reed has said.”

Do you think the hospital was right to initially refuse Mr Biss admission? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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