Coroner told of possible C Diff deaths


The HSE has reported the deaths of four patients at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to the Co Louth coroner due to the possibility that clostridium difficile (C Diff) may have been a factor in their deaths.

There are currently 13 confirmed cases and 20 symptomatic cases of C difficile at the hospital, the HSE confirmed today.

"In consultation with the Louth county coroner our clinical director has agreed that all deaths occurring at the hospital during the escalation phase of the outbreak will be notified to the Coroner as a matter of routine. To date four deaths have been notified to the coroner," the HSE said.

It said "strenuous steps" were being taken within the hospital to ensure the infection was properly managed in accordance with best practice.

"Intense cleaning is continuing at the hospital. While hospital hygiene is clearly important, evidence shows that hand hygiene is the single most effective defence against the spread of infection. All staff at the hospital are being reminded of the necessity to observe good hand hygiene. We are also inviting patients to ask their healthcare workers if they have cleaned their hands before treating them."

GPs and ambulance services have been requested to refer adult patients with medical complaints to Louth County Hospital Dundalk, Our Lady's Hospital, Navan or the nearest appropriate hospital.

Adult patients with surgical complaints should be referred to Cavan General Hospital, Our Lady's Hospital, Navan or the nearest appropriate hospital, the HSE said.

It asked that members of the public only attend the emergency departments at the hospital in the case of a genuine emergency, and to contact their GP or out of hours service in the first instance.

"Patients may experience delays in the emergency department and regrettably due to the number of beds closed to new admissions we have delays in patients awaiting admission."

A total of 77 beds are currently closed at the hospital

Strict visiting restrictions remain in place and where visitors are permitted they are being advised of the need for appropriate hygiene protocols.

"As is good practice, all visitors to the hospital are urged to wash their hands thoroughly before and after their visits and to use antibacterial hand gels provided. Elective admissions and elective scopes have been cancelled until further notice. However, all outpatient appointments are proceeding as normal," the HSE said.