Two babies die after contracting blood infection


Princess Royal Maternity HospitalImage copyright

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The Princess Royal Maternity Hospital is in Glasgow’s Alexandra Parade

Two premature babies have died after contracting a blood stream infection at a Glasgow hospital.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed it was initially investigating three cases in the neonatal unit at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital.

But it said two of the “extremely premature” babies have since died and the infection was “one of a number of contributing causes” in both deaths.

The third premature baby required treatment and is in a stable condition.

NHSGGC confirmed an incident management team was set up on 24 January after the staphylococcus aureus bacterium was detected.

Dr Barbara Weinhardt, infection control doctor, 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.

“Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is found on the skin and in the nasal passage of around one in four people and only causes infection when it enters the body.”

Dr Weinhardt said in cases where people were vulnerable to infection, it can cause serious infection.

She added: “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.”

Linked cases

Dr Alan Mathers, chief of medicine, women’s and children’s service, said national guidance sets out that an investigation should be triggered when two or more cases of the same type of bacteria are found.

In this case an incident management team meeting was convened last Thursday.

Dr Mathers added: “The IMT began their investigations into possible linkages between the three cases and sent samples for testing.

“Whilst these results were awaited, we spoke to the families affected, together with the parents on the unit and staff, to let them know of our investigations.

“The results that have come back today have confirmed links between the three cases.

“Our infection control team continues to work closely with clinical colleagues and domestic staff to manage the situation and take all necessary steps to maintain patient safety.”

An incident management team is made up of specialist clinicians, infection control doctors and nurses, occupational health clinicians, and staff from estates and facilities.

The health board is also awaiting the results of a separate investigation into the deaths of two patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after they contracted an infection linked to pigeon droppings.

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