Infection Role In Hospital Death

A County Down man died from hospital acquired infections, an inquest has found. Brendan McDowell, 43, a builder from Annalong, was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital for a back operation. But a jury at Belfast Coroner’s Court found he died two months later from the infections, combined with an allergic reaction to drugs given to fight it. In a statement on Tuesday, the Royal defended its staff, saying they worked hard to reduce the risk of infections. The Royal offered its sympathy to the family. In a statement, it said staff worked “around the clock” to reduce the risk of infection and safety was a top priority.

“Hospitals are not necessarily the starting point for infections – all of us carry organisms harmlessly on our skin – but unfortunately they are the places where infections can do the most damage to very sick people who are already quite vulnerable,” the statement read.

It took a jury at Belfast Coroner’s Court three hours to arrive at their findings. They sat through six days of evidence. They found that Mr McDowell had died in February 2004 from the infections which he had caught while in the Royal, combined with an allergic reaction to the drugs he had been given to fight them.

As the findings were read out, his widow, Ann, sobbed in court. In accepting the findings, the Coroner Brian Sherrard expressed his condolences to Mrs McDowell and the family circle.