Senator: Tackle hospital acquired infections

Senator Dr Jerome Walcott revealed today that a hospital acquired infection led to his mother’s death in January and he appealed to hospital authorities to seriously tackle the problem now affecting the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Dr. Jerome Walcott
Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott

“Dealing with a hospital-acquired infection is not PR, it is serious work,” he told the Upper House amid reports that the island’s main medical facility was battling to contain klebsiella pneumonia and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

“I am speaking as one who has experienced that, in terms of my mother who went to the hospital in September [2014] contracted klebsiella and it was a downhill battle since then in terms of antibiotics. So I am speaking out of concern. I would not like to see, if possible, another Barbadian go through the entire process of dying from klepsiella infection in this situation.”

While acknowledging that hospital acquired infections occurred in hospitals all over the world and were not unique to the QEH, the medical doctor revealed it was not the first time that the klepsiella or MRSA were discovered at the Martindale Road institution and strong prevention measures should have been maintained.

“The organisms are usually resistant to almost all of the antibiotics that are available and so it very important once they take hold that you ensure that you pull out all your resources in dealing with them and try to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”

He noted that in 2013, the hospital had called in a team from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) after the discovery of klebsiella.

According to Walcott, the experts had advised that strict guidelines be implemented to control the spread of the bacteria but the programme was crippled because of the hospital’s ailing finances.

“With all of the financial difficulties at the hospital, this entire process has not been implemented. Though the hand sanitizer [dispensers] are there, often times they are empty. In terms of the barrier nursing that is required, sometimes the nurses have the equipment – the aprons, the mask etc, sometimes they don’t and this is the reality. I am saying regardless of the financial difficulties we need to cap the entire process of these hospital acquired infections.”

“In these situations you can have persons coming in for a simple operation – for a simple blood transfusion and contract klebsiella pneumonia and then in a couple weeks, a couple months there are no more. It is that difficult to treat.”

Dr Walcott urged authorities not to delay efforts to control the spread of the infections.

“If you have klepsiella, you need to deal with it. You need to close the ward,you need to sanitize it. You need to deal with it aggressively and stop playing games and PR. I certainly hope that the powers that be would ensure that this situation is controlled, especially the resurgence of MRSA which I thought we had controlled some eight-ten years ago.”

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