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MY LITTLE GIRL WAS THE FIRST TO DIE; HOSPITAL CRISIS KILLER BUG.

Byline: VICTORIA McMAHON

A DEVASTATED mother fears her baby was the first victim of a killer hospital bug.

Tearful Kathleen Doran is convinced her premature girl Hope died after contracting deadly pseudomonas from her in the womb - a MONTH before the outbreak was made official.

The lethal bug has now claimed the lives of three babies at Belfast's Royal Jubilee Maternity Service since January 6.

But grief-stricken Kathleen, 31, believes her precious daughter died of the fatal bug on December 9.

In a heartbreaking interview with the Irish Sunday Mirror last night the mum claimed health bosses:

ARE to blame for her tiny daughter's death

KNEW the deadly bug was in the hospital in December but tried to cover it up

TOLD her Hope died from a bacteria but wouldn't tell her what it was called

DIDN'T take the outbreak seriously until it was too late, and

COULD have prevented the babies' deaths.

Kathleen, from Co Antrim, said she has been in a living hell since her tiny daughter's heart stopped beating.

Hours later she was told she had also contracted a bug and was given antibiotics .

Dr Henry Halliday yesterday con-firmed unborn babies can catch the deadly pseudomonas infection saying: "It is possible, but unusual."

The consultant said: "The mother would have to be colonised, she would have to be carrying the infection."

Despite quizzing medical staff, frustrated Kathleen has never been able to find out what the infection was.

She said: "Every time I've asked a question from then to now I've been fobbed off.

"They knew about this in December. Why didn't they prevent it? I'm convinced they knew about this before Hope died.

"If I was the first one then these other deaths could have been prevented

"It feels like I'm in hell for something that should never had happened.

"I put my trust in them to fix me and do everything right for my child. If I thought that anything like that was going on I wouldn't have stayed." d I ond

Kathleen was put on antibiotics and told the infection may have come from m contaminated hospital equipment.

A number of conversations with medical staff has convinced the grieving parents their baby girl, who weighed just 2Ibs 2oz, was a victim of the deadly th eved dly bti bacteria. Kathleen said: "After the C-section I was asking questions.

"One midwife I was talking to told me the placenta was infected because the doctors retched from the smell of it. The other one with her looked at her as if to say 'shut-up'."

The couple's suspicions were raised further when her husband Patrick talked with another member of staff.

He said: "Two days after my baby died I was told they could see the bug under the microscope in the laboratory. I was told it was rod-shaped.

"They said they weren't quite sure what it was just yet. I asked whether it was septicaemia and they said 'no'."

But none of the medical staff the couple spoke to would name the bug.

Reeling from her loss, Kathleen desperately tried to make sense of why her baby died.

But as she prepared herself for the horror of having a C-section to remove her baby's lifeless body. Kathleen was told she had contracted a hospital bug. The midwife told me, 'There's something wrong with your blood. There's a bug in your blood.'

"They were running around a lot and I was told later they had to take more blood.

"I told Paddy there was definitely something up."

The neonatal unit at the infected hospital is now in lock down and undergoing a deep clean to try and exterminate the deadly bacteria that flourishes in moist, warm conditions.

Officials have admitted four other babies were found to have contracted it. One child is currently being treated, two have fully recovered and one other made a recovery but subsequently died of an unrelated cause.

Meanwhile, worried parents of 24 babies at the contaminated neonatal unit have to wait until tomorrow to learn whether their newborns are victims.

Kathleen furiously attacked health bosses who she alleges are guilty of penny-pinching over the welfare of vulnerable infants.

She added: "I think it's down to costs. To get rid of this all costs money.

"We were put on death row and they tried to hush, hush it underneath the carpet. I feel very lucky to be alive - I could be dead like my child."

Her nightmare began when she started to bleed as her placenta came away at just 27 weeks into her pregnancy.

Within hours doctors told her distraught husband Patrick that his wife and baby's life were hanging by a thread.

Kathleen said: "When I arrived at hospital the blood was gushing out of me like water.

"The doctors told my husband my life and the baby's life was hanging in the balance and that I could haemorrhage to death. When they scanned for the baby I couldn't look at the screen because I thought the baby was dead."

The expectant mother was put on steroids to make her baby's lungs stronger for a premature birth but during her hospital stay Kathleen began to feel unwell.

"I was hot constantly but I wasn't running a temperature. I felt that my body was burning. I was sweating.

"I had pain in my side that kept getting worse. I just thought there was something else.

"But any time I brought it up I was told it was probably just bruising."

In the early hours of Friday, December 9, Kathleen's bloods were taken and told it was routine procedure.

Later that evening her pain started to get worse. Devoted husband Patrick became so concerned he started to take notes as her condition worsened.

She said: "It wasn't until I showed the midwife the log on the times of the pain that she finally came over at 9.50pm."

Shattered Kathleen vividly recalls the moment her world fell apart. She added: "They brought over the ECG and said there was no heartbeat. They called the doctor and an ultra-scan was done.

"They told me the baby was dead. It's your worst nightmare. It was the worst experience to go through in life."

The couple are now concerned their two daughters Alice, five, and three-yearold Mary-Ann may have contracted the bacteria during hospital visits to see their mum.

They are suffering with urinary tract infections and bronchial coughs since then - two symptoms of the deadly bug.

Kathleen said she has repeatedly asked for the results of the postmortem on her baby girl but insists her requests have been stonewalled.

She said: "I've been asking for them for over a month but all I get is someone will get back to you but they never have."

Last night a spokeswoman for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said: "We do not comment on individual cases."

Voice of the Irish Sunday Mirror: Page 14

YOU ARE SAFE SAY HSE CHIEFS

HEALTH chiefs urged pregnant women not to worry - and promised our hospitals are safe.

HSE spokeswoman Kirsten Connolly said they have special equipment that enables them to tell immediately if the deadly bacteria is present. She said: "We have surveillance in place in all hospitals for all bacteria and infections.

"It would be spotted straight away.

"Hospitals have their own surveillance systems in place to catch this and all infections."

THERE is a way to cure the deadly pseudomonas infection.

Doctors say it can be treated with antibiotics once the problem has been identified.

Pseudomonas infections are diagnosed by taking a sample from the body close to the site of infection.

The samples are then examined under microscopes in a lab to make sure the bacteria is present.

PSEUDOMONAs is a germ that belongs to a family of very common bacteria usually found in water, soil, or on plants.

Most are harmless, but when pseudomona gets into the bloodstream or is passed to vulnerable people, such as premature babies, it can become very serious.

Outbreaks are usually linked to contaminated water or other liquids.

THIS is not the first outbreak of the deadly bacteria.

Pseudomonas caused huge problems in Norway in 2002 when 231 people were infected in a mass outbreak.

The source of the infection was eventually linked to contaminated mouth swabs. In a hospital in Iowa, US, nine patients were infected in 1993.

Outbreaks in America have been caused by contaminated syringes and even contact lens.

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System... waste bin Heartbreaking... baby Hope Loved... daughter Hope Outbreak... Belfast hospital Cherished... Kathleen Doran holds a picture of baby Hope
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2012
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