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Regional Coroner informed of patient death as part of protocol

Posted Jun 9th, 2011

As part of the C. difficile outbreak protocol, the Niagara Health System (NHS) informed the Regional Coroner’s office of the death of a patient today at the St. Catharines General Site.

“On behalf of the hospital, I would like to extend our condolences to the patient’s family,” says Dr. Joanna Hope, Interim Chief of Staff. “We can all appreciate how difficult it is to deal with a loved one’s death. This patient had multiple health issues and also tested positive for C. difficile. The death will be fully reviewed to determine what role C. difficile played or did not play in the patient’s death.”

Earlier this week, the Regional Coroner asked to be notified of all deaths of patients with C. difficile until the outbreak is declared over. The Coroner will determine whether to conduct his own medical review on a case-by-case basis. NHS will conduct a medical review of every patient death related to the outbreak to determine whether C. difficile was the cause of death, a contributing factor, or unrelated. All of these deaths are also reported to Niagara Region Public Health under provincial legislation.

The NHS is working hand-in-hand with Niagara Region Public Health to ensure all outbreak containment measures are in place and monitored to ensure they are working.

“Our containment efforts are working,” says Vice President Anne Atkinson. “There were two hospital-associated cases early on in the C. difficile outbreak when it was declared 13 days ago on May 28. There have been no new cases since May 28.”

There have been two other deaths associated with the outbreak. Medical staff are reviewing the case of an elderly patient who tested positive for C. difficile and died over the weekend. This patient had significant underlying health issues. It was determined that the death of a patient who died in late May was from other causes.

There are currently 20 patients associated with the outbreak at the St. Catharines General Site. Fourteen of these cases are hospital-acquired.

Niagara Health System