Glasgow was shocked and saddened by the news two patients recently died at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, after catching a fungal infection sourced from pigeon droppings.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde announced a ten-year-old boy and a seventy-three-year-old woman tragically lost their lives. It has been reported the elderly patient passed away from an unrelated cause, and a thorough investigation has begun. It is believed a room unavailable to the public, said to house machinery, was thought to be the probable source of the infection.
However, it has been reported the Crown Office will be looking into the deaths at the hospital, while Holyrood’s health committee in Edinburgh is being pushed to open its own enquiry into the tragic events.
Jeane Freeman, the Scottish government’s health secretary, has stated the infection known as Cryptococcus played a significant role in the youngster’s death. Cryptococcosis, or cryptococcal disease, is a fungal disease widely connected with droppings which also grows in soils across the globe. Sadly, ironically, it is actually quite rare for healthy human beings to contract the disease. However, you may be at risk of infection if you have a weakened immune system. The elderly patient’s passing was first thought to be linked to the infection, which apparently originated in the machinery room containing pigeon droppings, located on the roof, prior to travelling through the hospital ventilation system.
Miss Freeman, now wishing to get to the heart of the matter, has demanded a thorough review of how the £842m hospital was designed, built and how it is maintained, and how they pertain to infection control. This follows on from the case of a different patient falling ill from mucor, another fungal infection.
Reports have now been sent to the procurator fiscal concerning the deaths of the ten-year-old child in December and the seventy-three-year-old woman last month. The HSE or Health and Safety Executive are now carrying out an ongoing investigation, under the guidance of the health and safety division.
The incidents at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow puts in focus the almost unimaginable pain and loss which can be caused by an infection such as Cryptococcus and illustrates the crucial need for infection control.