Patient with deadly bug ‘moved to ward closed due to vomiting virus’

A patient with a diagnosed hospital bug that went on to claim the lives of 18 people was admitted to a ward that was closed due to another virus, an inquiry has heard.

Margaret Dalton was put on a ward that had been closed after cases of norovirus, a vomiting bug, Sister Lesley Fox told the inquiry into the outbreak.

A total of 55 patients were infected with Clostridium difficile (C difficile) between December 2007 and June 2008 at Vale of Leven hospital in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

C difficile was blamed for nine of the deaths and was said to be a contributory factor in the other nine.

Sister Fox said that when Mrs Dalton tested positive for C difficile on 17 December, 2007, she was put into a bay on ward six. But she said that ward six was closed at the time due to norovirus and had been for two days.

Colin MacAulay, QC, senior counsel to the inquiry, said that a plan of ward six showed bay 18, where Mrs Dalton was first placed, was “open to the ward”. Sister Fox agreed that bay 18 could not be described as “isolation”, but said measures would have been taken to reduce transmission of bugs. Mrs Dalton was later moved to an isolation room on the ward, the inquiry at Community Central Halls, Maryhill, Glasgow, was told.

She died on 31 December 2007, aged 74, after she was transferred to the high- dependency unit. The inquiry was also shown a fluid balance chart for Mrs Dalton for 19-20 December 2007. There were four entries next to certain times during the period.

Speaking about the entries, Mr MacAulay said: “Is this at all adequate?” Sister Fox, manager of ward six at the time of the outbreak, replied: “No, it is not.”

But the nurse said that there would have been a narrative in the nursing notes about the patient and the amount of fluid she had consumed.