Montreal

Lax cleaning at Quebec hospital plagued by C. difficile

A Quebec hospital struck by an outbreak of C. difficile in 2006 failed to meet its own sterilization and disinfection standards, a staff microbiologist told a coroner's inquest on Tuesday.

ER bathrooms cleaned once a day at height of breakout that killed 16 people

A Quebec hospital struck by an outbreak of C. difficile in 2006 failed to meet its ownsterilization and disinfection standards, a staff microbiologist told a coroner's inquest on Tuesday.

Dr. Anne Vibien was on staff at the Honoré-Mercier hospital in St-Hyacinthe in 2006 when 16 people died after contracting Clostridium difficile.

Vibien tolda coroner's inquest into the deaths that the hospital failed in itsefforts tocontain a new hypertoxic strain of C. difficile hit the wards.

A strict plan drawn up by administrators to increase disinfection procedures was never enacted because of staff shortages, Vibien said Tuesday.

Acommittee set up to monitor outbreaks met only sporadically and consisted ofa single personduring the summer months in 2006.

When the mutated strain of bacteria spread through the hospital, the staff were unprepared, Vibien said.

Rooms were not disinfected often enough, she said.Toilets in the emergency room were cleaned just once a day.

Some of the problems were solved when a new director was appointed at the hospital, she testified, but that was after 16 patients had died.

The coroner's inquest, ordered by Health Minister Philippe Couillard, will continue until mid-March.

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