"Poor hospital hygiene"

About: Not disclosing - see story

(as the patient),

My grand-daughter, not yet two years old, suffers from West syndrome resulting in global developmental delay, a degree of cerebral palsy and epilepsy. This was occasioned, we contend, by a mis-managed birth.

In the early hours of Friday morning 5 October she was admitted to hospital by ambulance suffering a severe seizure. The necessary treatment was given and it was decided to keep her in hospital for 48 hours and administer a loading dose of phenytoin on Friday evening to prevent her fitting again during the night.

This was administered through a line in her head. She became very sleepy but, on falling asleep was immediately violently sick. The vomit was over a portion of the bed with a considerable amount on the floor. The nurses were immediately advised but did not act beyond handing over a sick bowl. The vomiting was repeated several times over the next hour or two.

My son did what he could to wipe the bed linen and clean the floor with the paper hand drying towels at the ward entrance. Her bed linen was not changed and no one came to disinfect the floor. When we realised that no one was changing the bed, my son went a found a clean sheet for her to place over the soiled portion.

When I went to the hospital the next day, the floor had still not been cleaned - and this continued to be the case when she left hospital 48 hours after the sickness interlude.

With all of the concern about MRSA, C difficile and other hospital germs, I found this difficult to understand. Why do teams of experts need to spend huge sums of money investigating the matter, when simple hygiene is completely overlooked?

I am old enough to remember the time when cleaning was undertaken in-house. At the first sign of possible infection risk, the area concerned would be mopped down with disinfectant. Indeed all hospitals had a rather nauseating antiseptic smell at all times. There were also Ward Sisters who commanded respect and a Matron who took great pride in her hospital and kept all of the staff on their toes.

Only a return to that regime will solve the problems currently encountered.

I am not prepared to divulge the name of the hospital concerned since my grand-daughter's continuing care is in their hands and a potential claim for the mismanaged birth is currently in the hands of a lawyer.

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