Family slam 'filthy' wards

A family has severely criticised a Suffolk hospital for having “filthy” wards in the run up to the death of an 84-year-old grandfather who died after contracting a number of infections.

A family has severely criticised a Suffolk hospital for having “filthy” wards in the run-up to the death of an 84-year-old grandfather who died after contracting a number of infections.

Brian Baxter, who lived in Old Market Street, Thetford, died in November 2004 at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, from chronic pneumonia but also contracted the extremely infectious MRSA “superbug”, an inquest heard.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said there was no way of knowing whether Mr Baxter had contracted MRSA on the ward.

Mr Baxter's son, Jonathon, expressed concern that his father had been treated by staff without gloves, there had been insufficient hand-cleaning facilities and his family had not been informed of the MRSA infection itself.

Consultant Abul Azim, who treated the man, said the family had been informed of the infection twice and produced doctor's notes of their meetings.

Dr Elizabeth Wright, a consultant microbiologist who also gave evidence at the inquest, said the pensioner had not been tested for the infection on admission for a mini stroke in September 2004, but cited that 10pc of infected patients infected came in with the superbug. She said numerous tests were completed to find out what was causing Mr Baxter's high fever before MRSA was discovered.

Most Read

Dr Wright said the ward also used foam washes, which had proved effective against infection and that general cleanliness was good in 2004.

In a narrative verdict, Dr Dean ruled out the possibility that the MRSA infection had been fatal. He said: “Mr Baxter died from acute pneumonia against a background of infection, including MRSA.”

But speaking afterwards Jonathon Baxter said: “We were not happy with the West Suffolk. That hospital was filthy. It was a disgrace. However, the staff at my father's death were excellent and by now it has probably changed. This is the end of the matter for us.”

Nichole Day, director of nursing and service improvement at the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust, said: “In 2005 there was an enormous push to promote hand-washing as a key infection control measure. We signed up to the national clean your hands campaign and ensured alcohol hand-rubs were available at every bedside and at the entrance to every ward.

“We have seen MRSA rates fall year-on-year and this has been recognised in the two recent external reports on hospital cleanliness which placed West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust in the 'good' category.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter