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Hospital reports patient death related to the outbreak at St. Catharines General Site

Posted Jul 4th, 2011

A tenth patient related to the C. difficile outbreak at the St. Catharines General site has died.

“A tenth patient related to the C. difficile outbreak at the St. Catharines General died earlier this morning. We truly recognize the loss that the family and friends of this patient are experiencing and on behalf of our staff and physicians we extend our sincere condolences,” says Dr. Joanna Hope, Interim Chief of Staff for the Niagara Health System (NHS). “The patient had very serious underlying health issues and also had tested positive for C. difficile.  The patient’s death will be reviewed to determine what role C. difficile played or did not play in their death. This patient’s death has also been reported to the Coroner.”

The hospital will make public the results of the C. difficile death reviews once meetings with the patient families are complete. Sixteen deaths related to C. difficile have now been reported since the outbreak at the St. Catharines General began. This includes ten C. difficile related deaths that occurred at St. Catharines General; four deaths at the Greater Niagara General site; and two deaths at the Welland Site.

The hospital continues to focus its efforts on bringing the outbreak to conclusion as quickly as possible.


What is C. difficile?

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) causes diarrhea and is one of the most common infections in hospitals andlong‐term care facilities. People most at risk after exposure are typically of advanced age, and with underlying illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease or immunodeficiency, who are also taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off the “good bacteria” in the bowel and allow the C. diff to flourish and cause illness.

About Visiting

As a temporary measure, daily visiting hours will change from 2 to 8 p.m. to 4 to 8 p.m. to reduce the amount of traffic in patient areas and allow for enhanced cleaning. Visitors must be 13 years of age or older except for compassionate reasons. The long-standing visiting policy restricts the number of visitors to two per patient at one time, and that requirement will be enforced.

Visitors are asked not to visit multiple patient rooms when they come to hospital. Please only visit one patient room during any outing to the hospital during the outbreak.

Visitors should clean their hands upon entering and leaving the hospital, and should not visit the hospital if they are feeling ill. Visitors may be required to wear protective equipment, which includes gowns and gloves, when visiting patients.

Community Information Phone Line

Members of the public can call a dedicated community information line at the hospital with their questions about C. difficile and the outbreaks. This is a general information line. Medical advice or assessment will not be provided to callers to this line. Callers seeking medical advice are asked to call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0007 or present to the nearest Urgent Care Centre or Emergency Department.

The number for the community information line is 905-378-4647, ext. 44572. A registered nurse or Infection Control Practitioner will monitor the messages and respond to the inquiries in a timely manner.

Niagara Health System