Family unhappy with MRSA death report

By Craig RobinsonTHE family of baby MRSA victim Luke Day said last night they were unhappy with the findings of a hospital investigation into his death.

By Craig Robinson

THE family of baby MRSA victim Luke Day said last night they were unhappy with the findings of a hospital investigation into his death.

Julie Fenton, Luke's paternal grandmother, spoke out after Ipswich Hospital bosses revealed the outcome of a three-month independent investigation following the two-day-old baby's death in February.

The report looked at the delivery and subsequent care of Luke, the post-natal care of his mother, infection control, his cause of death, management of the hospital trust's initial investigation into his death and organisational issues.

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It concluded that although methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) septicaemia was cited as a cause of death on his death certificate, it was not certain that this was true.

Whilst the report acknowledged the bug was present, the investigating panel could not say for sure why Luke, from Woodbridge, died.

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It suggested there could have been several possible causes, such as damage to his lungs or brain or sudden infant death syndrome.

However, it did discover a number of issues regarding the quality of care given to both mother and baby that should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Mrs Fenton, from Woodbridge, said last night the family was far from happy with the findings.

“The report has opened a can of worms really. Kevin (Luke's father) and I both asked that if it's possible he didn't die of MRSA, then what was it?” she said.

“If he didn't die of MRSA then was it also possible that he could have been saved? We feel the whole thing has been a catalogue of mistakes from the hospital's point of view.

“When Luke was born they should have kept a closer eye on him. We knew something wasn't right, but we feel basic policies and procedures were not followed.”

She continued: “I haven't had a chance to go through all of the action plan yet, but it does seem impressive. However, from our point of view we are far from 100% happy.

“It just seems to us as if the hospital have spent a lot of time trying to make up other excuses and find other causes for Luke's death.

“We feel there are a lot of questions still to be answered and we won't be satisfied until this is done. If this means asking for an inquest into Luke's death, then that's the road that we take.

“The report certainly doesn't draw a line under anything and we will continue to carry on. We've been told that the hospital is willing to answer any other questions that we have, but it's all too little too late.”

Baby Luke became the country's youngest victim of the bug when, aged just 36 hours, he died of MRSA-related septicaemia in Ipswich Hospital on February 3.

The East Anglian Daily Times exclusively revealed in March how Luke's parents, Kevin Fenton, 24, and Glynis Day, 17, had to fight to get MRSA recognised as a cause of death.

The family came forward to let the public know of the dangers of MRSA and to tell their tragic tale in the hope it would change things for the better.

Ipswich Hospital called in a team of experts, which included representatives from the hospital, Health Protection Agency and the strategic health authority, to hold an independent inquiry into how Luke contracted the bug after its own investigations drew a blank.

Work had been ongoing since April and a full report on their findings was due to be released in June, but the search was widened to include other experts and the results were delayed.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Ian Scott, Ipswich Hospital Trust's medical director, said: “There is evidence that some clinical signs were missed or misinterpreted and that the recording of basic observations, such as low temperature, was below the standards we expect.

“The report highlights events from which we shall learn and, together with Gwen Collins, our director of nursing, I will be personally leading the detailed action plan which has already been drawn up to make sure there are changes in procedures.

“We are putting in place a raft of improvements where we have identified problems.

“Sadly, we can't change what has happened, but we have been open and thorough in our response. This was a tragic, but thankfully isolated, incident.”

Trust chairman Christine Smart added: “We promised Luke's family, our staff and the wider community that we would leave no stone unturned in finding out what caused the sudden and unexpected death.

“We are all sorry for what happened and, as a trust, we take responsibility for making sure it does not happen again.

“The focus for all of us is making sure that improvements are made, and made immediately to areas which have been identified as problems.”

Areas that will be improved as a result of the investigation include antenatal care, delivery procedures, care of the newborn, such as reviewing guidelines on the management of hypothermia, grunting and acidosis, and enhancing the hospital's guidelines for infection control.

Anyone who may be going into Ipswich Hospital soon and has any concerns regarding the report can contact its helpline on 01473 704071.

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