Parents' anger over MRSA death

The parents of the UK's youngest-ever victim of MRSA last night spoke of their grief and anger at how their newborn died after contracting the super bug while in hospital.

The parents of the UK's youngest-ever victim of MRSA last night spoke of their grief and anger at how their newborn died after contracting the super bug while in hospital.

Kevin Fenton and Glynis Day were spoke out after an inquest into the death of their son Luke, who was just 36 hours old when he died at Ipswich Hospital in February 2005.

An investigation by the hospital had previously concluded that MRSA may not have been the cause of death.

But yesterday Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean ruled the baby died as a result of contracting the bug - and that medical staff had also missed warning signs that Luke was sick.

Mr Fenton and Miss Day, both from Woodbridge in Suffolk have been fighting to get MRSA recorded as the cause of death on their son's death certificate for two years.

Mr Fenton, 26, welcomed the ruling but said he hoped Ipswich Hospital had learned from its mistakes.

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“The whole family is pleased with the verdict and we now just want to go home and let it all sink in,” he said. “It's taken two years to come to this and finally we have got some of the answers we wanted.

“We always expected the coroner would find Luke had died from MRSA and now hopefully the hospital can learn from some of its mistakes because we don't want something like this to happen again.

“They now have guidelines and procedures in place and should be more aware of situations. Hopefully, fingers-crossed, it will make a difference.”

Miss Day, 19, added: “I knew straightaway when Luke started grunting that there was something wrong. I think it is disgusting really. They [the hospital] should have done more.”

Luke's family are now considering whether to take legal action against Ipswich Hospital.

Earlier microbiologists confirmed the baby died as a result of an infection and that pathologists had found traces of MRSA in his lungs, heart and spleen.

But experts could not be 100pc certain that Luke died as a result of the super bug, the inquest, held in Ipswich, was told.

However, recording a narrative verdict, Dr Dean concluded that on the balance of probability it looked as if the baby had died from MRSA.

He added that there was also evidence to suggest that 20 hours after being born Luke was showing signs of illness, which included a drop in temperature, a low blood sugar level and “grunting” - a possible sign of breathing difficulties.

Medical staff failed to react to the warning signs and missed opportunities to review Luke's treatment such as taking him into intensive care and administering antibiotics, Dr Dean said.

“Whether the outcome would have been different we really cannot know,” he said. “But what we do know is that at least if Luke had been given the chance then the family would know that everything that could have been done had been done.”

The source of the MRSA remained a mystery and had not been found despite extensive searches at Ipswich Hospital, the inquest heard.

However Clare Barlow, the hospital's director of operations at the time of Luke's death, said the hospital had carried out two reviews in an attempt to improve procedures and that lessons had been learned.