Expert slams C-diff staff
Published 24 May 2012 09:00 0 Comments
EXPERT: Christine Perry
STAFF did not keep track of patients infected with deadly superbug clostridium difficile (C-diff) during the outbreak at Vale of Leven Hospital which killed 39 people, an inquiry has heard.
Independent infection control expert Christine Perry said paperwork blunders, bad management and not taking enough preventative measures allowed the raging infection to spread.
Ms Perry slated nurses and doctors for not tackling the infection or safeguarding patients during the outbreak between December 2007 and June 2008.
She said: "My summary was that the infection control nursing team failed to maintain records of C-diff positive patients to the required standards.
"There was evidence of failures in the record format, as required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and, in my opinion, a failure in documenting, physically documenting, reviews and visits within the patient records.
"I would have expected to see ongoing clinical review of patients, especially where patient symptoms or reported behaviour suggested they had continued active infection, and it is my opinion that the clinical reviews fell short of what I would expect of an infection control team in practice."
Ms Perry also revealed patients were not isolated despite showing symptoms of C-diff.
She added: "There was evidence from the statements and from the patient records that I reviewed that patients that were having diarrhoea and, therefore, under the terms of the loose stool policy should be isolated, were not isolated until the Clostridium difficile result came back as being positive."
The probe - which is investigating the treatment of 60 people during the worst C. diff outbreak in Scotland - resumed at Maryhill Community Centre, Glasgow, last week.
The inquiry heard that a proper infection control policy, including surveillance and reporting systems, was vital to help prevent the "early detection and control for outbreaks or higher incidence of infection".
However, Ms Perry said during her research into the outbreak she couldn't find evidence there was one in place in the Vale hospital before June 2008.
She also highlighted that there was no "strong leadership" from the lead infection control nurse and said having no infection control doctor helped the outbreak spread undetected.
She added: "Where you have a robust infection control nurse/doctor team, you would have been having the discussions on a regular basis around your patients and around, not only the numbers that you were seeing about specific infections, but also around the seriousness of those infections.
"I believe that's the discussion that you would normally have on site, where you can review patients, rather than having that discussion by telephone, where it's very difficult to have full and frank discussions about what's happening in an area."
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 22 May 12
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