Hospital reports patient death related to the outbreak at Welland site

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Posted Jul 2nd, 2011

A second patient related to the C. difficile outbreak at the Welland Hospital site has died.

“On behalf of the hospital, may I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the patient. We deeply care for our patients and sincerely recognize the loss that the family and friends of this patient are experiencing,” says Dr. Joanna Hope, Interim Chief of Staff for the Niagara Health System (NHS). “This 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. Fifteen deaths related to C. difficile have now been reported since the outbreak at the St. Catharines General began. This includes nine 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.

“Our efforts are focused on bringing the outbreak to conclusion as quickly as possible. We continue to work closely with Niagara Region Public Health to manage the outbreak and are doing whatever we can to access expert resources which included the Public Health Ontario Infection Control Resource Team that visited our St. Catharines General site earlier this week,” adds Dr. Hope. “The support we have received is truly appreciated.”

BACKGROUND

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.

Niagara Health System