UK: Tragic Fife couple's case leads to calls for national norovirus review
Posted: February 1st, 2012 - 6:52pm
Source: The Courier
Dorothy and Andy McEwen, who were both 83, died only days apart in 2010. Mrs McEwen fell ill with norovirus while a patient in Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, and her husband went on to catch the bug after talking his wife's laundry home to wash, unaware of potentially fatal risk from germs clinging to the clothing.
In fact it has emerged NHS Fife, in line with the majority of Scottish health boards, don't wash soiled garments which belong to patients. Instead, clothing is placed in special sealed bags to give to relatives to wash at home along with handling instructions.
The double tragedy for the close-knit Fife family has prompted Mrs Eadie to back leading bacteriologist Professor Hugh Pennington in his call for a review of hygiene practices.
''We are getting to grips with MRSA and C. diff but norovirus is a problem we are no getting to grips with yet,'' he said.
He said verbal information was vital, as well as written details of how to safely handle personal effects soiled with the active and virulent bug, which closes wards and hits thousands of Scots every year.
Mrs Eadie said: ''There needs to be an urgent and thorough investigation into these incidents. Professor Pennington is absolutely right to call for a root and branch review of hygiene practices in all Scottish hospitals and, personally, I think that we should not expect relatives to take home the washing of patients any longer.
''Norovirus is a serious matter in hospitals and is more infectious that either MRSA or C. diff.''