Saturday 20 January 2018

Hospital changes cleaning routine after bug scare

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

CHILDREN who have been exposed to potential infection from a contaminated hospital instrument may have been the victims of inadequate sterilisation procedures.

The 18 children who attended Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin had their bowels examined with a colonoscope that was contaminated with a bug, ESBL, that can lead to kidney and blood infections.

A spokeswoman for the hospital refused to comment on the sterilisation procedures in place, but a memo issued last Friday has revealed it is changing its method of cleaning instruments.

The children involved, aged six to 16, had the examinations between May 17 and July 5. Although the colonoscope was sterilised after use, checks found that the bug had been present in a crack in the instrument.

Dr Colm Costigan, the hospital's clinical director, said yesterday that the children will undergo tests to find out if they are carrying the bug.

They will not be given antibiotics if they are carriers, but they will have to undergo drug treatment if it progresses to the stage of infection.


The hospital was warned about its infection-control procedures last month by inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and told to carry out an audit of invasive medical devices.

The inspection report, while positive on some aspects of infection-control procedures, found fault with the poor attendance of some staff at infection-control training sessions and found hand-washing was substandard.

The decision of the hospital to quarantine the scope at the centre of the scare has meant the endoscopy room where the examinations take place has had to be temporarily closed for a deep clean.

Figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show the number of patients who developed bloodstream infections due to ESBL rose from 145 to 245 between 2010 and 2012.

The over-use of antibiotics has been partly blamed for the rise, but it is unclear if the patients picked it up the bug from dirty hospital equipment.

Dr Costigan said all families involved had been sent a letter and testing kit which they will send back with a stool sample.

Irish Independent

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