Nova Scotia

Woman wants more C. difficile prevention

A Nova Scotia woman who contracted C. difficile says even some medical staff don't do enough to prevent the spread of the nasty infection.

A Nova Scotia woman who contracted C. difficile says even some medical staff don't do enough to prevent the spread of the nasty infection.

Judy Farcey, who lives in Musquodoboit Harbour, says she had a brush with death three weeks ago when she became severely ill with C. difficile.

" I kept saying, 'I have the flu, I have the flu,'" she told CBC News,

Her husband, however, decided to take her to hospital. 

"Finally I was so delirious -- I couldn't control my bowels or nothing -- that he said, 'Something's not right, We're going.'"

Farcey was rushed into surgery to remove part of her colon. Ken Farcey believes if he had waited even a few hours longer, he would have lost his wife.  

" They made it clear that this was serious," he said. "It was close. If I had've hesitated, she wouldn't have made it."

Even after two nauseating weeks of vomiting and diarrhea, she's not back on solid foods.

Health Canada describes C. difficile as the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalized patients in the industrialized world.

Since C. difficile is transferred by contact, everyone around Farcey had to wear gloves and gowns as she recovered.

But Farcey said not everyone did that. When she was moved to a general ward, Farcey noted on two occasions some nurses weren't wearing gloves. One day, a doctor even gave one of the nurses a scolding.

"She said, 'You know, we have a sign posted above her bed, we have a sign on the door, that you are supposed to be wearing gloves.'"

Farcey also said nurses let her share a bathroom with two other patients, which the hospital's safety measures don't permit. 

"It's easy to say well, you know, they just forgot," Ken Farcey said. "But one time is maybe too many,"

Judy Farcey said she understands how lapses in safety might happen:

"This patient needs you, this patient needs you, and all of a sudden, 'Oh my god, I forgot my gloves.' You know, that type of thing.'"

"I just don't think that they know that C. diff. is a killer."

Capital Health said its numbers show infections of C. difficile in the hospital have gone down over the last two years. The hospital says it has ongoing education about safety procedures.

But the Farceys are still uneasy about what happened. And they say hand-washing has become a constant part of life for them now.

 

now