Hospital tells sick man to go home

AN ANGRY Ipswich woman today told how doctors refused to admit her elderly father-in-law to hospital because he was suffering from a superbug.

AN ANGRY Ipswich woman today told how doctors refused to admit her elderly father-in-law to hospital because he was suffering from a superbug.

Russell Biss, 73, was diagnosed with Clostridium Difficile (C-Diff) last week and taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance on Monday after his condition worsened.

His daughter-in-law, Marie Biss, claims doctors were unable to admit him as he needed to be in isolation and there were no beds available.

Her experiences come at the same time as the hospital has revealed two wards have been closed to new admissions due to outbreaks of C-Diff and the winter vomiting bug (Norovirus).

She said: “The doctor told us my father-in-law would need a room on his own because of the bug and that there were none available in the hospital whatsoever.

“They wanted to send him home despite the fact he could not sit up by himself, and he could not walk. He lives on his own and could not have coped.

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“We had to refuse to take him home, and it was only then that, all of a sudden, a bed became available.”

Mr Biss, 73, from the Chantry estate, first became ill four weeks ago, suffering with severe diarrhoea and stomach pains.

He has lost three stones in weight and also has diabetes and heart problems.

Last week his GP diagnosed him with C-Diff but his condition took a turn for the worse on Monday when he became weak and unable to swallow the tablets he had been given.

Mrs Biss, 43, of Bernard Crescent, Ipswich, said: “He hates hospitals but he had become so weak that he just said to us 'I give up. I need to go into hospital I can't cope anymore.'

“They said all of his observations like his blood sugar and blood pressure were normal but it was obvious to anyone that he was in a very bad way.”

Mr Biss remains in hospital today and is undergoing a series of tests.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “We are clearly very sorry that we have disappointed the family but we would urge them to contact us immediately so that we can talk to them about it and carry out a very careful investigation.”

She added that despite the ward closures no-one who needed care had been turned away.

Have you had problems being admitted to the hospital this week? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail>

BOSSES at Ipswich Hospital today urged visitors to think twice about coming on to the site after outbreaks of two highly contagious bugs.

Two wards at the hospital are currently closed due to a number of patients suffering from C-Diff and the Norovirus (winter vomiting bug), and older people and children under 12 are being asked to stay away because they are more susceptible to infection.

The number of patients and staff affected is around 20 but the hospital is not revealing which wards are affected as they do not want to cause alarm to patients who are on the wards but do not have the bug.

Ms Rowsell said: “We are asking visitors to help us by thinking extremely carefully before coming as the viruses are very highly infectious.

“We are trying to contain the incidences to the areas where they already are.”

Ms Rowsell said despite the wards being closed to new admissions the hospital has not been on red or black alert this week.

She said: “It is tight but we are managing.

“When we have any infections it does have an impact on everybody. It has a knock-on effect because we have to try to safeguard the whole hospital community.”

January is traditionally one of the hospital's busiest times but is particularly tough this year as it comes at the same time as the hospital is trying to manage massive debts and make changes to its structure.

A number of changes are in the process of taking place as part of the hospital's bid to reduce its £24m debt.

A series of ward closures have already taken place - so far 37 beds have been closed, with the hospital eventually aiming to close 71 beds.

They also want to close up to four operating theatres and shed up to 350 jobs.

What are C-Diff and the Norovirus?

Clostridium Difficile is an intestinal infection which causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

It is present as one of the 'normal' bacteria in the gut of up to three per cent of healthy adults.

People over the age of 65 are more susceptible to contracting the infection.

C-Dff can cause illness when certain antibiotics disturb the balance of 'normal' bacteria in the gut, which is what happened in Mr Biss's case.

Its effects can range from nothing in some cases to diarrhoea of varying severity, which may resolve once antibiotic treatment is stopped, through to severe inflammation of the bowel which can sometimes be life threatening.

It is possible for the infection to spread from person to person because those suffering from C-Diff shed spores in their faeces. Spores can survive for a long time in the environment and can be transported on the hands of health care staff who have direct contact with infected patients or with surfaces (floors, bedpans, toilets etc.) contaminated with it.

If you are infected you can spread the disease to others. However only people that are hospitalised or on antibiotics are likely to become ill.

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that are the most common cause of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs) in England and Wales.

The virus is easily transmitted from one person to another. It can be transmitted by contact with an infected person, by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.

The symptoms of norovirus infection will begin around 12 to 48 hours after becoming infected. The illness will last for 12 to 60 hours. They will start with the sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhea.

Most people make a full recovery within 1-2 days, however some people (usually the very young or elderly) may become very dehydrated and require hospital treatment.

There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.