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Covid outbreak at Somerset hospital linked to 18 deaths

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COVID-19 may have contributed to the deaths of 18 people who contracted the infection while being treated at Weston general hospital in Somerset, an investigation has found. The layout of the hospital and the proximity of staff and other patients who had Covid but were asymptomatic may have been among the reasons for the 18 people acquiring the virus.

The hospital temporarily stopped accepting new patients, including into its A&E department, on Monday 25 May following a Covid outbreak among patients. It fully reopened on 18 June.

As part of its investigation, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS foundation trust identified 31 patients who died after contracting Covid while they were in-patients from 5-24 May. A detailed review of each of the cases was undertaken and it concluded that in 18 patients, the infection may have contributed to their death.

Dr William Oldfield, the trust’s medical director, said: “We are deeply sorry for this. We are already in contact with the families of these patients and have informed them of the outcome of the review. We have apologised unreservedly and have offered them support."

“For each family concerned, we will undertake an investigation into the specific circumstances that led to the death of their loved one. We will invite them to help inform the investigation to ensure that any questions they have are addressed. We recognise that other patients and families may have concerns and we would like to provide reassurance to everyone that the safety of our patients and staff continues to be our main priority.”

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Source: The Guardian, 10 September 2020

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