Family's anger over hospital dirt

A LOVING husband whose wife contracted the killer superbug MRSA and later died found mould growing only yards from her hospital bed, an inquest heard yesterday.

A LOVING husband whose wife contracted the killer superbug MRSA and later died found mould growing only yards from her hospital bed, an inquest heard yesterday.

Alfreda Kaye, 74, was being treated at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds following a routine hip replacement in June last year.

She contracted the virus and, despite the hospital saying it successfully flushed the deadly infection, she died three weeks later.

Mrs Kaye's husband, Barry, said in a statement read to the Bury hearing he was shocked to find mould growing on a radiator in her side room and dust so thick on an accident and emergency trolley he could write his name in it.

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And, after the inquest, the grieving husband said he was appalled by the state of the radiator.

“It had a covering grill that was slightly askew,” he said. “Inside it looked like it was covered in vegetable peelings that had been on a compost heap for two weeks. It had grown a white fur. I checked the room next door and it was the same.”

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Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean, who said a verdict of accidental death would be inappropriate, told the hearing serious issues had been brought to light by Mr Kaye. He said: “The things Mr Kaye saw raise significant concern as infection played a part in his wife's death.”

Hospital chiefs have now apologised to Mr Kaye and say new hygiene systems are being implemented.

Mrs Kaye - who was buried on the couple's 32nd wedding anniversary - had a fall on June 4 while shopping at Tesco in her hometown of Thetford, after suffering from a series of giddy spells.

She underwent surgery the following day for a total hip replacement and while recovering discharge was spotted weeping from the wound.

Test results were positive for the deadly drug resistant MRSA - Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

But the hospital said that, according to tests taken on the day Mrs Kaye died, she had been successfully treated for the superbug and the major factor in her death was a joint infection.

Mr Kaye, 57, who works as a court usher in Bury, praised the care work of nursing staff at the hospital but said cleaning issues had to be addressed.

He claimed that when he mentioned the dirty trolley to a passing nurse they told him they were only cleaned if they need repairing.

He added: “I also saw a toilet where the loo seat was broken off. Once I'd told the staff the radiator and trolley were sorted out within 24 hours but why was it my job to report it?

“The staff gave exemplary care but had cleaners taken more pride in their work then MRSA would not be the problem it is.”

Dr Dean said Mrs Kaye's death was caused by infection following the surgery combined with her fragile state of health at the time and medical history.

His verdict was death caused by complications following a fractured hip against a background of pre-existing natural disease

In a statement read out at the inquest, Chris Bown, Chief Executive of West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust, gave his condolences to the family.

He stressed: “Please allow me to apologise for the examples he has referred to when the standard of cleanliness and service was not of the highest standard.”

He said cleanliness was a priority at the unit and standards had been assessed.

Mr Bown said although the hospital had a dedicated team of environmental cleaners they did have a large site to cover.

But he insisted the issue would be closely monitored in the future and the system was being restructured with senior housekeepers accountable for cleanliness on each ward.

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