Family’s Anger At Hospital ‘Cover Up’
One of Wales’ biggest hospitals has been accused of “covering up” an 89-year-old’s death after she contracted TWO deadly superbugs. The family of Anne Jay were stunned last month when a death certificate concluded their frail mum died as a result of pneumonia.
But last night, the OAP’s relatives were seeking answers from the Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust after being told the pensioner was treated for the deadly MRSA and Clostridium Difficile (C.Diff) bugs just weeks before her death.
The family – who can’t understand why the bugs are not mentioned on their mum’s death certificate – have accused the Trust of “covering up” the diagnosis.
Mrs Jay’s daughter Annette Matthews, 59, said: “I believe this is being swept under the carpet. I was told my mum contracted both bugs whilst at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend. I believe the final conclusion that mum died as a result of pneumonia but I can’t understand why the bugs, which my mum received antibiotics for whilst in hospital, are not mentioned as contributory causes of death on her death certificate.”
The Trust – which provides healthcare for 160,000 people – said it is unable to respond to the claims due to “patient confidentiality”. “We wish, however, to offer our sincere condolences to the family at this very sad time,” a spokesman said. “If the family wishes to make contact with the Trust then we can make the arrangements to discuss any concerns they may have.”
Our story comes just a fortnight after Wales’ 13 NHS Trusts were accused of hiding the true extent of superbugs striking hospital patients. MRSA Support – a Birmingham-based group which helps MRSA patients – claims hospitals are discharging patients early in a desperate bid to keep official killer infection rates under wraps. And they believe the number of elderly patients suffering the painful and potentially fatal C.Diff gut infection could be much higher than first feared.
Mrs Jay, from Bridgend, was admitted to the Princess of Wales Hospital from a residential home on December 21 suffering dehydration and anaemia.
Mrs Matthews, who lives near Malaga, Spain, said: “By January 4 we were told by nursing staff at the hospital that C.Diff had been found in the bay of the ward where my mother was being nursed and that all the patients there would be barrier nursed. My mother subsequently developed the infection. On January 26 I was told by a sister on my mother’s ward that she also had the MRSA infection in a bed-sore she had developed.
“Eventually, the whole ward bay was closed and my mother was transferred to a nursing home, still with both infections. Her condition deteriorated until she had to be re-admitted to hospital on March 20. She was still being treated with antibiotics for the bugs at this stage.”
But then Mrs Jay took a turn for the worse. “I was due to fly back to Wales on April 2, but on March 30 I received a call from the doctor treating mum in hospital advising me to go back sooner because the level of sepsis, or infection, in her blood was causing a rapid deterioration in her condition,” Mrs Matthews said.
“By March 31, the pain caused by C.Diff and from the wound became so intense she had to have morphine. My mother battled on with MRSA and C.Diff for another 12 days but eventually died on April 12 after suffering considerable pain as a result of two infections.
“This was distressing enough but I was absolutely amazed when the cause of death on her death certificate was stated to be pneumonia. This might have been the eventual cause but why was there was no mention of either C.Diff or MRSA when there were two sections on the form requesting any contributory causes?
“When I went to the registrar office to declare my mother’s death I commented on this to the registrar. She informed us that this happens regularly and that we could refuse to accept the doctor’s findings, or demand a post-mortem. We could not face delaying the funeral so we did neither.”
The family’s complaint, Mrs Matthews said, is not with nursing staff. “I would like to stress the excellent care and support that my mother and our family received from the nursing staff at the Princess of Wales Hospital,” she said. “But I am resentful that her death was such a painful one and furious that pneumonia was cited as the only cause of death.”