Glasgow & West Scotland

Prosecutors probe 'hospital fungal infection' death

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
Image caption The £842m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital opened in April 2015

Prosecutors are investigating the death of a third patient at a Glasgow hospital.

Mito Kaur, 63, was one of two patients affected by a fungal infection, Mucor, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Two other patients died after contracting a separate fungal infection linked to pigeon droppings.

An inspection of the hospital published last week raised concerns about levels of cleanliness.

Ms Kaur was admitted to the hospital on 7 January and died at 02:00 on Thursday, a day before her 64th birthday.

The Crown Office confirmed it was aware of the death of Ms Kaur and has instructed Police Scotland to carry out inquiries.

'Devastated'

Lawyer Aamer Anwar, who is representing Ms Kaur's family, is now calling for a full independent investigation to take place.

He said: "Mito's family are devastated at her loss.

"For the last two months the family have had serious concerns about what had happened to their mother, with many questions that remain unanswered."

In January Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) was asked by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to examine cleanliness and safety at the hospital.

The move followed the deaths of a 10-year-old boy and 73-year-old woman who had contracted cryptococcus, a fungus linked to pigeon faeces.

In the case of the child, the bacteria were a contributory factor in his death. The woman was found to have the fungal infection but it was not the cause of her death.

Both cases are also being investigated by the Crown Office.

'Highly concerned'

Last week HEI found some areas of Scotland's biggest hospital could not be cleaned properly because they were awaiting repair work.

The health secretary has also ordered a full independent investigation into the design, maintenance and construction of the hospital.

Mr Anwar confirmed an independent post-mortem will be carried out.

The solicitor added: "In recent days an unannounced inspectorate report into the management of infection and control following two previous deaths was published, this was a devastating indictment of the culture that existed at the QEUH.

"The family are deeply grateful to the many staff who tried so hard to save their mother's life, but they remain highly concerned at the role of senior management and demand a full robust and independent inquiry take place.

"At this stage it would be premature to say anything further about the cause of death."

'Sympathies and thoughts'

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said it was unable to comment on the case as it did not have the family's permission to release any information.

The Scottish government said its "sympathies and thoughts" were with Mrs Kaur's family.

A spokeswoman added: "As the health secretary has set out in parliament, an independent expert review will be jointly chaired by Dr Brian Montgomery, the former medical director and interim chief executive of NHS Fife, and Dr Andrew Fraser, the director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland.

"It will look at the hospital's design, commissioning, construction, handover and maintenance, including how these matters support effective infection prevention and any other areas the Chairs consider necessary.

"The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate was asked by the health secretary to fully inspect and review this incident and to make any further recommendations they consider appropriate.

"The inspection was completed and published on 8 March, and the board accepted the report's recommendations in full and is currently implementing an action plan to address these as a matter of urgency."

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