Questions asked about MRSA deaths

QUESTIONS are today being asked about the accurate recording of MRSA on death certificates, following the tragic case of Woodbridge baby Luke Day.Patient groups and politicians say Ipswich Hospital's initial failure to put MRSA on Luke's death certificate could be indicative of a much more widespread problem.

QUESTIONS are today being asked about the accurate recording of MRSA on death certificates, following the tragic case of Woodbridge baby Luke Day.

Patient groups and politicians say Ipswich Hospital's initial failure to put MRSA on Luke's death certificate could be indicative of a much more widespread problem.

Tony Field, chairman of MRSA Support - a support group for anyone who has been affected by the bug, said: "I would say that in the case of more than half our members who've had loved ones die of MRSA, it was not recorded on their death certificates.

"I think it's down to a fear of what the population might think.

"I would like to see a complete change of attitude from top government officials downward and have them be frank and open about hospital acquired infections."

When Luke Day died at Ipswich Hospital on February 3, septicemia was initially put down as the cause of death. Further tests revealed he had contracted MRSA and his father, Kevin, refused to sign the death certificate until this was added.

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The family say they will continue to push for a change in the way MRSA is recorded on death certificates.

Paul West, Conservative candidate for Ipswich, said: "There has to be openness about the process and if there are deaths occurring from MRSA then the public need to know.

"The hospitals all do huge amounts of good work but trying to protect their name is not a reason to keep the public in the dark about the truth."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health denied there is any kind of cover-up taking place.

She said: "We are constantly encouraging people to report MRSA wherever they can. The problem with death certificates is that some of the people who are most vulnerable to MRSA are already very sick.

"If somebody has come in with a heart condition and they have MRSA but die of a heart attack that has to be recorded as the main cause of death. It has to be down to clinical judgement."

A spokesman for Ipswich Hospital said he was confident that all procedures had been properly followed.

He said: "The important thing is that the family were told about the MRSA as soon as we knew. It was not a case of the hospital trying to hide it from them."

Have you had problems getting MRSA put on a death certificate? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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