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31.01.19

Investigation into Glasgow hospital after two newborns die from infection outbreak

Two premature babies have died in a Glasgow hospital after contracting a blood stream infection and a third is in stable condition following an outbreak – the third infection-control crisis to hit the city’s hospitals in two weeks.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) has launched an investigation into the outbreak of Staphylococcus aureus in the neonatal unit at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital.

The trust said that two of the babies “were extremely poorly due to their very early birth” and had sadly passed away. The infection was “one of a number of contributing causes in both deaths” according to the health body.

The third premature baby who tested positive for the blood stream infection required treatment but is currently in a stable condition. An incident management team has been set up to investigate the infection.

Infection control doctor Barbara Weinhardt said: “Our thoughts are with the families affected.

“Results have today confirmed that the three cases of Staphylococcus aureus are linked and our investigations continue into how they are linked.”

She explained that the bacterium is found on the skin and in the nasal passage of around one in four people, but only causes infection when it enters the body, causing serious infection to particularly vulnerable people.

“We have taken a number of control measures in the unit, including a deep clean, isolation and barrier nursing, safety briefs to all staff, and infection control advice to all visitors.”

Alan Mathers, chief of medicine, women’s and children’s services, explained that following national guidance, an investigation had been launched as more than two cases of the same type of bacteria have been found.

He added that as the hospital’s infection control team continues to work to manage the situation, all necessary steps had been taken to ensure patient safety and the trust has spoken to staff and the parents.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the Scottish health minister had been in regular contact with the trust’s health board and said that Health Protection Scotland was supporting the trust.

Scottish shadow health secretary Miles Briggs called it a “desperately tragic story” and said serious questions would now be asked about infection controls in hospitals and the SNPs grip on the situation.

Just last week, Jeane Freeman announced a review was to be held into Glasgow’s flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital following the outbreak on another infection, this time linked to pigeon droppings.

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