A patient died after developing an infection that spread in a Glasgow hospital’s intensive care unit and was connected to polluted water, it emerged.
Official records show that at Glasgow Royal Infirmary there were two cases of MDRO (multidrug-resistant) Pseudomonas aeruginosa that had “matching profiles.” In November, the most serious outbreak category, the cases were graded as “red flagged”
In the intensive care unit, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde reported that one of the cases had been contaminated due to “cross-contamination”
The agency said that during the outbreak, which was classified at the highest red alert stage, one patient sadly died, but did not provide more information and said the deceased patient had a serious underlying disease.
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The agency’s records say steps have been taken with an ice machine to fix a “cleaning problem” but none of the patients actually ingested ice. Any trace of the bacteria was reportedly ruled out by water sample testing and staff were briefed on patient accommodation.
In healthy patients, Pseudomonas aeruginosa rarely affects and can cause a variety of infections, especially in people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and newborns.
The infections are often related to contact with polluted water, according to UK government guidelines. The organism can contaminate equipment left in the body in hospitals, such as ventilators and catheters.
The pathogen is thought to be responsible for 10 percent of hospital-acquired infections, and almost all antibiotics are known to be immune to certain species.
Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, added: “It’s a scourge in intensive care units when it contaminates equipment, and (before COVID) was a significant problem for patients on ventilators.”
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Board records on healthcare-acquired infections also reveal that after three patients were infected with Burkholderia stabilis, which is associated with contaminated medical equipment, an incident response committee meeting was held on Oct. 1.
In the affected patients, NHSGGC said blood cultures had found a typing match.
Water samples, gloves and all shared equipment were negative, but inquiries are continuing, the board said.
“Our condolences go out to the families and friends who have lost a loved one,” a spokesperson for the organization said.
While we do not comment on specific events in the media, we can confirm that incident response teams have been formed in relation to these incidents and, as a result, quick action has been taken.
“They have specific protocols for infection prevention and control in place and all workers obey national guidelines.
“These incidents were reported to our board as part of our robust management and governance of infection prevention and control processes in our hospitals.”
The statistics also indicate that there have been 75 red or yellow warnings since September due to outbreaks of Covid-19 in hospitals.
This resulted in the closure of 44 wards in October and the closure of 37 wards in November. 14 wards remained closed as of yesterday.
The information also reveals that in the second phase of the pandemic, more hospital wards have been closed as more evidence has emerged about how the virus is spreading.
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27 wards were closed to new patients across NHSGGC from March to May, while 90 wards were closed between September and November.
So far, due to the pandemic, ward closures around the largest health authority in Scotland have resulted in 10,009 “lost” bed days.
“In May, The reported how it was said that a decision to transfer elderly patients from Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to Gartnavel General led to cases spreading “like a cruise ship.” Whistleblowers alleged that in a matter of weeks there were 25 deaths and 81 cases.
It is claimed that several patients tested negative on admission but contracted the virus because the wards to which they were moved had “active infection” and they were transmitted.