AN investigation which could end up in criminal proceedings is under way at Glasgow’s super hospital following the death of a 10-year-old-boy.
The Herald on Sunday can also reveal another infection has occurred in a child cancer patient, also linked to the water system at the hospital.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has summoned more than 20 staff at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for interview as part of their investigation into an earlier infection linked to the death of a 10-year-old boy.
The regulator said prosecution could be an outcome of their findings, should they uncover serious breaches of health and safety rules which contributed to the boy’s death.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has instructed other health bodies to conduct a “fingertip search” of documents to ensure other new and recently built projects in Glasgow comply with all regulations and standards.
The Herald on Sunday has learned that a child with cancer has contracted a fresh bacterial infection linked to the water system at the QEUH, which is now being investigated by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC).
It is the latest in a series of healthcare-associated infections to hit the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the adjacent Royal Hospital for Children since they opened in 2015.
In February 2016, months after the hospitals opened, a child with cancer developed a bloodstream infection from a water-born bacteria and another child became unwell from the same bacteria a year later.
Between January 29 and September 20, 2018, 21 children with cancer were struck down by infections from 12 separate types of fungi and bacteria.
NHSGGC announced in June 2018 it would be moving patients from wards 2A and 2B at the RHC due to the infections and they would be treated in the QEUH.
However, in December 2018, a 10-year-old boy with cancer, who was being treated in the QEUH, contracted an infection of Cryptococcus linked to pigeon droppings and later died.
Pensioner Mito Kaur also passed away after contracting another fungus, Mucor, having been admitted to hospital for treatment for pneumonia.
We previously revealed that the pest control bill for the QEUH campus had reached more than £400,000, with pests such as rats, ants and beetles among those eradicated or deterred from the site.
One source told The Herald on Sunday that tests are ongoing to determine if other children have been affected by the latest bacteria, said to be a type of Mycobacterium linked to the water system.
Another senior NHSGGC source said: “This is very serious. These children are vulnerable, their parents are going through a difficult enough time as it is.
“They are trying to fight cancer. They do not need to be infected with anything else. Yes, infections can happen in hospital, but as we have seen before, these types of bacteria are relatively or extremely uncommon.
“They’re not something you want in your body. These children need all the help they can get to overcome cancer, and with these additional infections, that isn’t happening.”
Labour health spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said the latest incident proves there is something “seriously wrong”, and questioned whether Freeman now had to take action similar to that with the Edinburgh children’s hospital.
The Health Secretary halted the opening of the new hospital earlier this month, just days before it was due to open, after she was informed about problems with ventilation.
Lennon said: “There is no doubt that many patients receive excellent care at the QEUH, but it appears there is something seriously wrong at Scotland’s flagship hospital that is compromising patient safety.
“Patients have already died as a result of infections caused by the hospital, triggering the ongoing major investigation into the building, but how many more people need to get ill or die before the Health Secretary takes serious action?
“Jeane Freeman’s honeymoon period is long over and she’s failing to get a grip of the big problems she inherited from previous SNP ministers. In fact, some things are getting worse and she has failed to reassure the public that the QEUH is safe.
“If she can’t guarantee the safety of patients in every part of the QEUH she’s going to have to explain why, unlike the new Edinburgh Sick Kids which she’s deemed unsafe, it’s still open.”
Source – https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17799859.criminal-probe-underway-bird-poo-scandal-super-hospital/