Baby dies of MRSA after 36 hours

EXCLUSIVEBy Mark HeathA TWO-day old baby has died from the killer superbug MRSA at one of the region's biggest hospitals.Luke Day was just 36 hours old when he died in Ipswich Hospital on February 3, leaving his teenage mother Glynis and father Kevin Fenton devastated.

EXCLUSIVE

By Mark Heath

A TWO-day old baby has died from the killer superbug MRSA at one of the region's biggest hospitals.

Luke Day was just 36 hours old when he died in Ipswich Hospital on February 3, leaving his teenage mother Glynis and father Kevin Fenton devastated.


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After a post-mortem examination concluded that Luke died from septicaemia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), they were shocked to find no mention of MRSA on his death certificate.

Mr Fenton, 24, refused to sign it until MRSA was given as the cause of death - and now the family have spoken to the East Anglian Daily Times in an effort to highlight what has happened and ensure Luke's death was not in vain.

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Stunned by events, Kathy Day, Luke's maternal grandmother, has even resigned from her job at Ipswich Hospital, saying she cannot support the NHS any more.

“We've got to be brave and struggle on for him. We've got to be a voice for him now because he can't talk for himself - and we've got to make sure this doesn't happen again,” she said.

Luke was born naturally in the hospital on February 2. Weighing 7lb 7oz, he was not premature and showed no signs of ill health.

His mother Glynis, 17, from Woodbridge, said: “He seemed fine. His temperature did go down, but he went under a heater for a bit and he was fine again. There was no indication that he was ill at all.”

Mrs Day added: “At 6.55pm on February 3, the nurse came in to see Glynis - who had eclampsia - and at that point she noticed that Luke had died. There was no warning at all.

“No-one told us what was going on. She just picked him up and rushed out of the room.”

Mr Fenton, who just minutes before had arrived at the hospital to see his son for the first time, said: “It didn't seem real at all.

“As soon as the doctors came in we knew what they were going to say. They said they didn't know what had caused the death. We were allowed to see him and hold him, which was nice - that was the first time I had seen him.

“I was worried before the birth because he was my first child, but afterwards it was like a bad dream that I thought I'd wake up from - but that wasn't the case.

“Holding him after he had died, I kept expecting him to make some noises or something, but he never did.”

Glynis added: “They told us they had no understanding of what had happened. He had no symptoms or anything. As far as they were concerned Luke was just a normal healthy baby.”

Luke's body was sent to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for a post-mortem examination and the family were told he had died from an overwhelming septicaemia infection.

But their nightmare worsened when a community midwife called at the house and told them MRSA had been found in Luke's bloodstream, and was thought to have entered his body through the umbilical cord.

The family were tested, as were Ipswich Hospital staff and areas of Orwell Ward, where Luke and Glynis had stayed, but nothing untoward was found - although the ward had been cleaned since Luke's death.

But when the family went to sign Luke's birth and death certificates, they were shocked to see MRSA had been left off as a cause of death.

“They said septicaemia was on the certificate and it couldn't be changed,” said Mr Fenton.

“I told them that I wasn't going to sign it unless MRSA was put on and we got a call from the registrar two days later saying that it had been changed.

“I was so annoyed that MRSA was not initially on his death certificate - how many other people have been in the same shoes? The true picture isn't available to the public.”

Julie Fenton, Mr Fenton's mother, added: “I just wish they would tell us everything - say they are sorry for what happened and tell us what they are going to do to try to make things better. It makes you wonder how many other people have been treated like this?

“Everybody that I talk to is just shocked. People ask me if he was premature or ill, but he wasn't. He was a totally healthy baby.

“I was texting everybody for half-an-hour after he was born - and to find out he died just hours later was devastating.”

Mr Fenton continued: “What we want to do us to let people know that babies do die of MRSA - we all want to make people aware of MRSA. I thought it was something that just older people get, not babies.

“I have no confidence in the NHS now - if I ever have to go into hospital, I will be afraid. I would never go to Ipswich Hospital now. It's tough enough just driving past the place.”

Mrs Day handed her notice in at the hospital yesterday, quitting her post as family support worker that she had held for the past 18 months.

“I don't want to work there anymore. By resigning that's my way of making a point - I feel I can't support the NHS anymore,” she said.

“The whole family feels the whole truth about Luke's tragic death should be known. A baby has died from MRSA in an NHS hospital. People need to know.

“Something must be done in eradicating this superbug. We do not want other families to go through the pain we have suffered over the last few weeks.”

Jan Rowsell, a spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, denied it had been involved in any cover-up and stressed staff were doing all they could to get to the bottom of Luke's death.

“From our perspective there has been no cover-up whatsoever. The cause of death is determined by the most senior clinician in charge and it's independently corroborated by the coroner's officer. I'm categorically sure there has been no cover-up,” she added.

“The sudden death of baby Luke is a tragedy of the highest proportion. This has deeply affected all of the staff who cared for Luke and his family. We have, and continue to offer our condolences to the family.

“We instigated an immediate investigation into the events surrounding this unexpected death. This investigation included intensive testing of the ward, the surrounding maternity facilities, all staff which had come into contact with Luke and the immediate family members, for the prevalence of MRSA.”

She continued: “All of these tests have proved negative. We do not, as yet, understand how such a tragedy as this could occur when the ward and maternity area are completely free of MRSA.

“Since baby Luke's death our senior midwives have been in close contact with baby Luke's family, both to offer support and to keep them completely up to date with news of the ongoing investigation.

“We are committed to finding the reason as to how MRSA could be the cause of Luke's death and are determined to address anything which this investigation shows needs action.”

Ms Rowsell said the initial stages of the investigation had proved inconclusive and the hospital would continue to investigate.

“We try very hard for all our wards to be extremely clean and, unless they had been deep cleansed, you would expect to still be able to find traces of MRSA,” she added.

“We're certain that the testing, which is done under laboratory conditions, was done to a very high level because of the huge importance of this case.”

mark.heath@eadt.co.uk

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