C. difficile victims settle suit with Quebec hospital

The families of 16 patients who died in a 2006 outbreak at Honoré-Mercier hospital in St-Hyacinthe will receive $25,000 compensation.

The families of patients who died after contracting C. difficile at a Quebec hospital in 2006 will each receive about $25,000 in compensation.

Jean-Pierre Menard, the lawyer representing the families announced details of a settlement with Honoré-Mercier hospital in St-Hyacinthe at a press conference Friday.

Seventy patients were infected by a virulent strain of the C. difficile bacteria in 2006. (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)

Menard says the agreement is an important step forward, but that the province is still not doing enough to fight infections in hospitals to prevent similar outbreaks.

Seventy patients were infected and 16 died during the outbreak of C. difficile, or Clostridium difficile, infection.

The patients who survived the infection are also included in the settlement, but will receive a lesser amount.

In 2007, the Quebec coroner faulted hospital administrators for failing to spend enough money on measures known to contain the spread of the superbug.

C. difficile outbreak: Need to know

  • Deadly C. difficile outbreak emerged in Quebec in 2003
  • 21 cases per 1,000 Que. hospital admissions were infected at height of outbreak in 2004
  • Antibiotic-resistant, mutated C. difficile strain emerges at Saint-Hyacinthe hospital in 2006
  • 70 patients infected and 16 died at Honoré Mercier Hospital
  • Class action lawsuit launched against the hospital on behalf of those 70 patients in 2008