Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Family’s anger at ‘horrible death’ of grandmother with C.diff

The family of a Londonderry woman who died after contracting a hospital superbug in Altnagelvin hospital has criticised how she was treated.

Dorothy Wray died in February, six months after she was taken into hospital following a fall.

Her granddaughter, Joanne said yesterday she died after contracting C.difficile. This was given as a secondary cause of death, pneumonia being the primary cause, though the family believe she would not have died had she not contracted the superbug.

Joanne said Mrs Wray was kept in a ward with other patients for several days after being diagnosed.

She said: “My granny was 86 years of age and she had a long life, yes, but she died a horrible death.”

And she claimed other patients and visitors were put at risk.

Joanne said: “There didn’t seem to be any attempts at that stage to isolate the ward or other patients. A few occasions when people had visitors in and they would come over to talk to us, and you felt like saying, ‘Go away, please. Stand away from us’. But we didn’t know what to do for the best. We felt very strongly at the fact that other families were not aware.”

Joanne said the family suspected that her grandmother had contracted C.difficile when they washed her clothes.

“We were so angry,” said Joanne, who added the cleanliness routine on the ward was increased but other patients were not informed.

She said some staff were not washing their hands, adding that her grandmother was later moved to another ward where procedures were more closely followed.

“Staff are running with limited resources but they need to be more upfront with families and make families aware,” she added.

Speaking for the hospital, Alan Corey-Finn said he could not discuss individual cases and due to confidentiality, it was not possible to alert other patients.

“Our priority is to get the patient isolated as soon as possible,” he said.

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