Mary Harneys "health reforms" are still killing people.
MRSA control - HSE is grossly indifferent and inefficient (Feb 2007)
PEOPLE are now being warned by doctors that they should try to stay out of hospital if possible, because whatever they go in with, they could contract worse in inside.
The Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which first appeared in 1961, has been allowed to develop into a kind of superbug that is resistant to a range of antibiotics. It is actually killing patients.
Guidelines on the control of MRSA were first drawn up for acute hospitals and other facilities in 1995 and again 10 years later, but they are still not being implemented in many hospitals.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has not even compiled data on the number of MRSA deaths to date. This portrays an attitude of gross indifference, and society should be asking if the HSE learned any lessons from the blood transfusion scandal. Statistics for 2005 show that 592 people contracted bloodstream MRSA in 2005, which was an increase of over 24% on the previous year, and the number for the first nine months of last year was 435.
People who enter hospital for what are considered routine operations, are liable to die as a result of MRSA, or if they catch it and are lucky, they may survive facing years of rehabilitation.
Hospitals around the country will soon be facing hundreds of legal actions either from the families of those who died as a result of contracting the MRSA bug in hospital, or from those who have suffered serious debilitation. A Cork inquest found last November that pensioner Valentine Ryan, 74, died as a result of MRSA infection. His family is taking legal action against Mercy University Hospital in the hope of compelling the hospital, and thereby other Irish hospitals, to implement the guidelines to stop the spread of MRSA. In Holland, MRSA bloodstream infections are reportedly rare, and deaths almost unheard of because they take proper precautions.
But the risk of getting MRSA in this country is much greater because precautionary guidelines are not being implemented. Doctors tend to be the worst offenders in not washing their hands between patients. They can also be seen going around with a stethoscope hanging around their necks, which was a common practice in former years, but is now considered unhygienic.
In view of the extravagant cost of litigation, the lawsuits will inevitably cost a fortune, and the squander mania of the HSE will become ever more apparent. The interest of health should dictate that action should have been taken long ago to implement the guidelines to protect against the spread of MRSA. But the HSE did not even bother to make anybody available for comment.
Should we really be surprised in view of its gross indifference and crass inefficiency? (Irish Examiner)
The great MRSA hospital coverup. The next big litigation debacle is already under way.
A WOMAN who went into hospital for a kidney stone operation contracted MRSA and had to have both legs amputated.
The shocking case follows a statement from Professor Brendan Drumm of the Health Service Executive in which he said the public would be frightened if the true facts were published on the incidence of the disease in hospitals.
Hundreds of cases of MRSA have been swept under the Public Health service carpet, but the problem is so widespread that gossip, and anecdotal evidence has already brought the scandal out into the open.
Nevertheless, figures and deaths are being continually massaged in a horrendious cover up typical of Fianna Fails policy in every area from Paedophile priests to old folks nursing homes.
Sinn Fein TD Caoimhin O Caolain said ,in the Dail (8Nov 2006) people were now frightened and elderly people in particular were not attending at hospital when they needed to. damn right they werent.! Would any patient with an instinct for self preservation.? At least it will save money , (for the government) and reduce the waiting lists .
He said nobody, including Prof Drumm, knew the full and true extent of "this real horror story going on daily around our hospital sites". Your wrong on that one Caoimhin. hardly a citizen has not heard of a friend or acquaintance who has not fallen victim to this rampant virus.
Referring to statistics given recently by Health Minister Mary Harney, Mr O Caolain said the minister had claimed Ireland faired well. But he said Ireland and Britain, along with Greece, had the worst record of MRSA in all of Europe and Ireland was 70 times worse than the Netherlands.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the difficulty was that most of the issue related to hygiene standards, and the acceptance that clinical practice had not been up to the standards it should have been.
He said there were now officers in each of the hospitals dealing with those matters.
"There are health audits and a whole set of procedures and protocols, from washing hands to swabs, theatre treatment to gowning up. An enormous range of procedures have been put down across the hospitals," he said.
The Sinn Fein TD urged hospitals to inform patients and the relatives of those who died with MRSA present at the time of death, of the true facts of the situation.
Geraldine Collins (Irish Independent)
With media reports linking the MRSA bug to 7 deaths during a 10 day period in mid November 2006 it appears that the bug could be the next major litigation bombshell to hit the state.Founder of the MRSA families support group told the media she had been contantacted by seven families informing her of the deaths of relatives,people between 50 and 75 from all parts of the country.
Galway based solicitor Ian Simon is representing a significant number of people seeking to sue the state on the grounds that either they or their families contracted the Virus while in hospital.Mr Simon is likely to have his first case before the courts early next year.
"We will be basing our case on breaches of the Health Act 1947 and the failure of the health boards to implement the Department of Health,s own MRSA guidelines issued in August 1995" he said.
By Caroline O’Doherty
A CANCER survivor who exposed the scandals of bed shortages and the crisis in A&E is refusing to back down from criticisms she made of the hospital that treated her, despite the threat of legal action.
Janette Byrne, who lobbies with the Patients Together organisation for better patient care, has been accused by Dublin’s Mater Hospital of inaccuracies and exaggerations in her recently published book which chronicles her experiences.
The hospital has hired top law firm William Fry to warn her publishers, Veritas, to withdraw certain sections from subsequent print runs.
Veritas said last night, however, it would be reprinting ‘If It Were Just Cancer’ in its current form.
"There is no proposal to amend the text," said managing editor Ruth Garvey.
The solicitor’s letter says passages in the book, which has been selling steadily since its launch in September, caused "great distress" to the employees of the Mater, particularly those who work in the ward where Ms Byrne was treated.
"We have advised our clients that the descriptions of the Mater, and of St Vincent’s ward in particular, is defamatory of our clients."
The Mater has taken issue with some passages, including descriptions of dirty toilets and staff who failed to wash their hands.
Ms Byrne said last night she stood over everything she wrote and was pleased Veritas was standing firm, but she said she was upset by the hospital’s reaction.
"It has put a question out there as to whether I am a liar, as to whether I am exaggerating," she said.
"When you call me a liar, you call my family liars because they witnessed what I went through and wrote all the letters of complaint on my behalf, and you are calling all the people who have backed Patients Together liars."
The solicitor’s letter states: "At the relevant time (when Ms Byrne was treated) and since, hygiene audits of the Mater and St Vincent’s ward have been positive."
'No doubt' journalist caught killer MRSA bug in hospital
AN Evening Herald sports journalist died of the hospital bug MRSA, an inquest has heard,in december 2006
Father-of-five Tommy Murdiff (52), was struck down by the infection shortly before Christmas two years ago.
He had been in and out of hospitals over the preceding eight months with heart problems and also had to have a toe amputated.
Dublin City Coroner Brian Farrell told the court there was "no doubt" Mr Murdiff was infected while he was in hospital.
However, legal counsel for one of the doctors who treated Mr Murdiff at Dublin's Mater Hospital disputed suggestions he had acquired the infection while under medical care, and said he had been "abroad in the community" on several occasions between hospitalisations and may have contracted it then.
The coroner said while some cases of MRSA are picked up in the community, the infection is primarily hospital-acquired.
After the hearing, Mr Murdiff's wife Ruth said she was upset by any implication it was her husband's fault he had contracted the hospital superbug.
The inquest heard swab samples tested negative in May and June. However, a test in late July came back positive for MRSA on the big toe on his left foot. He was admitted to the Mater where he underwent three weeks of intensive treatment, including the administration of antibiotics.
Martin O'Donohoe, consultant vascular surgeon at the Mater, said: "We successfully treated it with antibiotics and it (the toe) healed."
However, Mr Murdiff developed problems with a second toe which eventually required amputation.
A swab taken at the out-patient diabetic day centre at the Mater public hospital showed that the MRSA had also returned, this time on the heel of his foot. However, this information was not passed on to Mr O'Donohoe in the Mater private hospital.
Mr O'Donohoe said that had he got the test result ahead of the operation, he would still have gone ahead with the amputation.
Mr Murdiff was discharged from hospital on December 2 and spent the following week at his home in Butterfield Grove, Athboy, Co Meath. During this time Mrs Murdiff said her husband appeared very flushed, was shaking and complained of feeling cold.
"He kept getting the shakes, but kept telling me he was fine. I think it's because he'd been through so much that, coming up to Christmas, he didn't want to worry me."
She said that on December 9 Mr Murdiff, who became widely known for his reporting of junior soccer, was working on a story for the 'Evening Herald' in his office at home. She put her arm on his shoulder and felt he was "burning".
He was admitted to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan that day with a suspected chest infection. The following day, when Mr Murdiff's condition deteriorated, his wife's worst fears were realised.
"I ran up to the hospital and at that stage there were doctors everywhere. I said to a male nurse 'please let him not have the MRSA again.'"
Mr Murdiff was transferred to the Mater where he died on December 14. A post-mortem found he died from sepsis due to MRSA infection.
The coroner adjourned the inquest to February 5 to allow a microbiologist to give evidence. He said the matter was not only important in relation to Mr Murdiff's death but also raises important public interest issues.
Speaking outside the court afterwards, solicitor for the family, Brendan Toale, said it only came to light that day that Mr Murdiff tested positive for MRSA shortly before his death.
Breda Heffernan (Irish Independent)