Sunday 22 July 2018

Superbug threat at liver transplant unit in St Vincent's Hospital

St Vincent's Hospital
St Vincent's Hospital

Eilish O’Regan

Patients at the national liver transplant unit in St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin were left at risk of being infected with a superbug, a damning inspectors’ report has revealed.

The report from the Hiqa which followed an unannounced inspection found the patients were at risk of VRE which is a serious bug resistant to antibiotics.

The visit took place on March 30. Inspectors said the hospital had not acted on what was learned from a 2014 outbreak, to reduce risks to patients.

It said poor infrastructure and facilities in the St Brigid's Ward, the National Liver Transplant Unit did not properly protect patients from  risk of infection.

The inspectors found insufficient en suite isolation rooms for patients.Not all single rooms used for isolation had en suite shower or toilet facilities.

Patients who were colonised with resistant bacteria were sharing with patients not colonised with resistant bacteria.

There was limited space between patients in multi-bed rooms.

The inspection also found a raised VRE infection seen at the hospital in 2014 and 2015.

In 2014, the hospital reported the first outbreak in Ireland of Linezolid-resistant VRE infection in the National Liver Transplant Unit.

The hospital said that the outbreak was likely facilitated by the practice of putting patients in multi-occupancy rooms, with shared toilet facilities.

St Vincent's told Hiqa that it recognised the incidence of VRE and the infrastructure of St Brigid's Ward were significant issues.

It also said it was dealing with issues within the limites of its budget allocation and the pressures arising from a lack of beds in the face of increasing clinical demands.

The hospital said that it had taken some measures to reduce the threat of VRE including increased screening, single room isolation, or grouping patients colonised with the infection.

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