Patient tells of C.Diff misery

A CANCER patient from Stowmarket has today told how catching a hospital superbug twice was one of the “worst experiences” of his life.

A CANCER patient from Stowmarket has today told how catching a hospital superbug twice was one of the “worst experiences” of his life.

Royston Logun was unfortunate enough to contract the infection, Clostridium difficile, twice within four months at Ipswich Hospital.

A short film screened at the hospital's Annual General Meeting on Thursdayexplored Mr Logun's experience, and also featured interviews with nursing staff, who were forced to close a medical ward at the Heath Road site due to an outbreak of the bug in 2007.

Mr Logun, 70, of Windermere Road, first got the infection, which can be fatal, last June when he was at Ipswich Hospital for treatment for bowel cancer. He had a bag attached to his body to collect waste and when this started to overflow, it aroused suspicions.

He was violently sick a few days later and found to have C.diff so was transferred to another ward.

He said: “I found the service started to go downhill then because of the numbers [of people with C.diff] that staff had to deal with. They were not able to cope.”

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Fortunately it cleared but when he returned to have the bag removed in October, he got the infection back again. This time the ward was virtually empty and he was able to get close attentive care.

Mr Logun, who is still using the services of Ipswich Hospital as he now has lung cancer, added: “It is not an experience I would wish on my worst enemy.

“Having C.diff is an awful experience to go through but the quality of nursing and care I received made it far easier to handle.”

The film also looked at the view from the nursing staff who worked on the ward that had to close two years ago.

One said it was “devastating” to close the ward as they still had patients to care for. She added that the staff felt incompetent and it damaged morale, however it turned out the outbreak had been beyond their control.

The film will be used for training purposes in showing the strengths of the hospital and the areas they need to improve.

Latest figures show that in the last financial year (08/09), there were 130 cases of C. Diff at Ipswich Hospital, compared to the expected 174 cases.

Andrew Reed, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital, said: “We found that in the first quarter, infections in C.diff were climbing. Since then this has fallen very dramatically and I am pleased with the rate of reduction.”

C.diff is a bacterium found in the gut. Those most at risk of catching the infection are elderly people, those on antibiotics, and those with underlying medical problems.

The general symptoms include diarrhoea, ranging from a mild disturbance to a very severe illness with ulceration and bleeding from the colon.