Clostridium Difficile outbreak killed three patients at the Arrowe Park Hospital

Superbug infection killed three people at the over-crowded Arrowe Park Hospital, following a massive increase in infection rates, informs the Liverpool Echo.

A report has revealed lack of proper cleaning due to time constrains, dilapidated wards and inadequate infection control practice. The state of the wards caused a substantial rise in deadly Clostridium Difficile Infections (CDIs).

The lack of bed space is making it hard for the hospital staff to separate the infected patients. This means that it is easier for the highly contagious bacteria to spread.

Clostridium difficile is a bacteria that can infect the bowel and cause diarrhoea. It most commonly affects people who have recently been treated with antibiotics and is especially dangerous to sick patients and elderly.

The board of Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (WUTH) has been presented with a report which linked CDIs to two deaths in January 2019 and one death in May 2019.

Five wards of the Arrowe Park Hospital have an ongoing outbreak of the infection. 78 infections have been recorded in the 2018/19 period, 44 of which could have been avoided.

In 2016/17, there were only 35 cases of CDIs recorded. There were 37 cases between April and June 2019 alone, showing a sharp rise in numbers.

Jay Turner-Gardner, WUTH associate director of nursing, compiled a report which states that: “The hospital-wide outbreak is a consequence of a sub-optimal environment, poor practice in the control of infection, lack of facilities to isolate patients and insufficient priority being given to the control of infection.”

The report referred to the death of patients, stating that: “The first two deaths at Arrowe Park Hospital were around the same time and the investigation team named patient flow and high bed occupancy, which prevented effective environmental cleaning as the main contributory factors.”

The report identified many failures regarding the outbreak, including:

  • Delays in sample taking
  • Inconsistent cleaning standards
  • Cluttered environments
  • Poor maintenance of the estate, which does not permit effective cleaning
  • Failures to isolate the patient in a timely manner

Mr Turner-Gardner also mentioned that many wards in the hospital require repair.

Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and an “independent consultant” have all worked together with the trust in the recent weeks to address the problems.

Public Health England’s Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Team has said that they are working with the hospital towards containing the spread of the infection and establishing infection control measures.

Paul Moore, Acting Chief Nurse at WUTH has offered his condolences to the families who lost their loved ones due to the infection and promised that improvement measures, focused on “environmental cleaning, handwashing practices, maintenance of clinical areas and antibiotic control”, have been implemented. (as told to Liverpool Echo)

The public should be aware that the infection can spread through people who had contact with C. difficile infected patients or contaminated surfaces, such as chairs, toilets and floors.

All visitors of the Arrowe Park hospital should remember to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand gels to minimise the spread of the infection.

After the recent listeria scandal, it is hard to hear about another bacteria outbreak. As we are based on the Wirral, the Arrowe Park hospital is a health service provider to many people local to us.

We have no doubt that many are concerned about the outbreak, particularly since the hospital has been struggling to contain the bacteria. Their inadequate control measures resulted in a dramatic increase in infections. This meant that more people suffered and some even lost their lives.

If you or your loved one have suffered as a result of the outbreak, do not hesitate to contact us.

Fill out a claim form here or call our team on 0151 306 3694 to discuss your circumstances.

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