Poor hand hygiene caused baby death

23 Apr 2013

The death of a premature baby has been blamed on poor hand hygiene at a hospital unit.

Jessica Strong was killed by an outbreak of a bug on the neonatal intensive care unit at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

Another baby was killed by the bug, while four other infants were also affected. The unit was shut for two weeks due to the severity of the situation.

Jessica, who had been transferred to the unit after being born 14 weeks early at George Eliot Hospital last June, died aged 11 days.

Doctors only managed to identify a possible cause for her symptoms the day before she died, although it was too late as the infection had already spread to her spleen, lung and brain. Stronger antibiotics and two blood transfusions were not enough to save her.

Annette Strong told the inquest her daughter had been making good progress before she got a call saying she had suddenly deteriorated and had needed resuscitating.

Medical staff told an inquest the bug could only have been spread by direct contact.

Emyr Phillips, lead infection control nurse, said: "There was a clear breakdown in hand hygiene practice which could have been caused by staff or parents."

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