18 children exposed to bug threat in hospital checks
Published 24/07/2013 | 05:00
A LEADING hospital has taken more than two weeks to notify the parents of 18 children who may be at risk of contracting a bug which can lead to kidney or blood infections.
The children, who underwent internal investigations at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin were put at risk of contracting the bug.
Three families have still not been informed, despite official guidelines which state that doctors should inform patients as soon as suspicion arises.
The parents of the children, who attended the hospital between May 17 and July 5 for colonoscopy exams of the bowel, are only now being contacted and asked to bring the youngsters back to be treated with antibiotics.
The bug, known as ESBL, can cause infection and lead to more illness for young people whose defences are already weakened due to some other condition.
It can be treated by antibiotics but the same drugs can also encourage the bug to grow in the bowel again.
A spokesman for the hospital insisted: "There is no immediate impact on children's health."
However, one of the anxious parents, Ann Doyle, of Ashford Co Wicklow, whose son Jake is among the children at risk, spoke of her concerns last night.
She said: "I cannot understand why it has taken so long to contact us. It may be the news about patients being put at risk of CJD in Beaumont Hospital which eventually prompted them to act.
"It makes me wonder about the level of infection control in Crumlin. These children already have weakened immune systems and should not have to cope with this."
Doctors discovered the bug in a crack in one of the endoscopes used on the children on July 6 but are only tracing the families now. It is understood that around 15 of the 18 families involved have now been contacted and asked to have their children tested. Some of the families are on holiday and have yet to learn about the alert.
In a statement released by the hospital, a spokesman confirmed that the bug was discovered on a colonoscope on July 6. The statement added: "The hospital's microbiologist confirmed on July 10 that the problem affected only one single colonoscope.
"Patient tracing immediately commenced in order to identify the children who had colonoscopies using this particular scope between the dates of May 17 and July 5.
"There are three remaining families who have not been contacted yet because they have not answered their phone."