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C diff bug leads to three deaths

Clostridium Difficile (C diff)


Since the start of the year three people who contracted the clostridium difficile (C diff) bug have died at an NHS hospital in Sussex, it has been revealed.

C diff also had a part to play in the deaths of another 10 people, who were patients at the Eastbourne District General Hospital in East Sussex during that time.

Nine other patients who died had also been diagnosed with the bug, but they managed to recover from it before they died and it was therefore thought not to be a contributory factor.

Health chiefs at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust said that there have been 62 cases of C diff since January 1, including people admitted with the bug.

The trust added that 17 patients at the Eastbourne hospital currently had symptoms of C diff-associated diarrhoea.

Dr Barry Phillips, the trust's director of infection prevention and control, said: "Can I reassure patients and local people that we have the highest possible infection controls in place at the hospital to manage this current problem.

"We are aware that the patients who have been affected are predominately elderly and frail with significant underlying medical conditions which have made them particularly vulnerable.

"Every effort is being made to safeguard patients."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Joanne Ashley from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "It is concerning to see such an increase in numbers of cases of clostridium difficile at the hospital.

"Whilst it appears that the hospital is taking measures to contain the spread of infection, they must look at how such an outbreak could occur and consider what policies are, or should be, in place at the hospital to ensure the prevention and control of infection."