Barbados’ lone hospital battling drug resistant bug

By Caribbean Medical News Staff
Already embattled with issues with junior doctors, BAMP, short supplies, budget cuts and other vexing issues, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is now battling potentially deadly bacteria which have caused an increase in infections over the last several months, according to sources.

The bacterial infections are caused by the Klebsiella Pneumoniae organism which is alleged to be showing up on several wards.

According to reports, the organism has been found on a number of wards and infection control teams are attempting to minimize the spread of the organism to other wards. A QEH internal infection control team is on the ground and is meeting with epidemiologists from the Ministry of Health in an effort to stop the spread.

The already sick, people with weakened immune systems, patients on ventilators and catheters and other devices are most at risk. Reports in another section of the press (Barbados Daily Nation) suggest that a doctor had discharged an elderly patient after a two-day stay at the QEH, fearful that the patient might become infected.

“In an effort to strengthen the hospital’s quality control programme, an infection control team from the Pan American Health Organisation has been invited to review the operations of the QEH to increase the safety and level of patient care. The team is expected to improve on disease surveillance systems, inclusive of a laboratory information system to enhance monitoring and treatment of Klebsiella Pneumonia cases. It is envisioned that this process will only be a first step towards a broader based programme to improve quality and detect weaknesses,” a statement read.
“The hospital has put several measures in place to mitigate the spread of these infections… Hygiene practices have been reinforced to provide a safer environment for patients and staff. Patients who have been diagnosed are being barrier nursed,” the statement continued. There has been no disclosure on the number of infections or any possible deaths as a result of the infectious bacteria.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has described the bacterium as one that can potentially cause several types of infections from pneumonia to bloodstream infections, infections at wounds or surgical sites as well as meningitis. The bacteria is notorious for is antimicrobial resistance and patients who have been on long term antibiotic care are also at risk. The bacteria are particularly resistant to carbapenems.

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