Hospital bacteria claims sixth victim

A sixth person, out of a total of 11 people who were contaminated by a highly resistant form of bacterial infection, has died in Pombal District Hospital. The 89-year-old victim suffered cardio-respiratory failure.

Another man, aged 78, still remains in a serious condition three weeks after the first case was reported at Pombal Hospital. Out of the other 10 people contaminated by the bacteria, six have now died, three have been discharged and one has recovered from pneumonia but remains in Coimbra, at Covões Hospital, suffering from other illnesses unconnected to the bacteria. If forecasts from the Regional Health Administration are confirmed, then the last sick patient affected by the bacteria will have been discharged and the hospital will return to normal functioning shortly.

The source of the killer breakout remains a mystery. The director of the clinic, Luís Garcia, has declared himself to be ‘at ease’ in relation to the hygiene rules and services offered at the Pombal hospital. Garcia denied that the conditions at the hospital were linked in any way to the outbreak of the infection. “We have many medical and nursing procedures and have done everything possible to avoid these kinds of situations,” he said. Three of the bacteria contained in the infection have now been formally identified, including ‘acynetobacter baumannii’. This is considered to be the most dangerous and provoked 18 deaths in hospital in the north of France at the end of last year.

One of those who survived the infection was 77-year-old Maria de Jesus, just one of the 11 patients who fell victim to the bacteria: “She is now free of the fever and has eaten. I hope to God that it doesn’t come back,” commented her daughter, Aduzinda Gonçalves.