Parents' fury after superbug kills premature baby son and 12 more newborns are infected due to outbreak in hospital intensive care unitOliver Hannon died after an outbreak of
the bacteria pseudomonas in the baby intensive care unit at
Southmead Hospital in BristolMother Jenna: 'I held him in my arms until he died'Traces of the superbug – linked to a series of baby deaths across the UK – were found in the water systemOliver was vulnerable because of his weak immune systemOf the other 12 babies, one was treated for minor infection; three remain well in hospital isolation; and eight have been discharged
14:43 GMT, 10 October 2012
A baby who died following an outbreak of a killer superbug at a
hospital neo-natal unit has been named as Oliver Hannon.
Oliver, who was born prematurely, and 12 other newborns in the baby intensive care unit at
Southmead Hospital in Bristol, had been infected after an outbreak of
the water-borne bacteria pseudomonas, it was revealed last night.
Traces of the superbug – linked to a series of baby deaths across the UK – were found in the water system.
His devastated mother Jenna Hannon has now spoken of the heartbreaking moment her son passed away in her arms at the hospital in August.
Jenna and Andrew Hannon, both 24, whose son Oliver died from the hospital superbug pseudomonas while in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Southmead Hospital in Bristol
Ms Hannon and her husband Andrew's tiny son was born at just 24 weeks but was making good progress at the neo-natal intensive care unit.
He died just hours after doctors told his parents he was doing 'fantastically'.
The mother-of-two told how she raced back to the unit and arrived just in time to cradle her week-old son as he died.
She is now taking legal action against the hospital, which has admitted the bug contributed his death and put in new measures to prevent another outbreak.
Eight of the other babies infected have since been discharged home; one has had treatment for a minor infection; and three with the bacteria on their skin remain in the unit in isolation.
Hospital officials said Oliver died in August and 12 others tested positive for the bacteria
Ms Hannon said: 'We weren't expecting it when he died. We were told he was doing really well.
'Then all of a sudden he went downhill. The doctors told me there was nothing more they could do and I just held him until he died in my arms.
'A doctor rang us up after he died and told us that he would still be here if he had not got the infection, and they didn't expect it at all.
'It has been a major shock – I am heartbroken.'
Ms Hannon was rushed to Southmead Hospital on August 17 after she experienced labour pains just 24 weeks into her pregnancy.
Baby Oliver was safely delivered by caesarean section and immediately taken to the neo-natal intensive care unit.
He responded well to treatment and plans were made to transfer him to the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, close to the couple's home in Tidworth, Wiltshire.
Jenna and Andrew Hannon also have a daughter Abigail, 11 months, and son Drew, three (pictured). Oliver died just hours after doctors told his parents he was doing 'fantastically'
But Oliver's condition suddenly deteriorated shortly after Ms Hannon and her husband, a Lance Corporal in the King's Royal Hussars, were making their way home on August 24.
They received a phone call from the hospital telling them to come back – but by the time they arrived there was nothing doctors could do to save him.
Ms Hannon, who has son Drew, three, and daughter Abigail, 11 months, said: 'We got the phone call to say he was deteriorating rapidly and turned around immediately.
'When we were about five minutes away from the hospital, we got another phone call telling us they needed us back now.
'When we arrived, they were performing CPR on him and then they told me that there was nothing more they could do.
'They just handed him to me and I held him in my arms until he died.'
A few days later they received a phone call from a doctor who told them that Oliver had died from a blood infection.
DEADLY BACTERIA PREYS ON WEAK
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacteria which can cause disease in many animals, including humans.
is most commonly found in soil and groundwater and is most dangerous to
people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and
It lives on the skin but can spread through medical equipment such as catheters and feeding tubes inserted into the body.
main symptoms include inflammation and sepsis and if it infects the
body's main organs, such as the lungs and kidneys, it can lead to death.
It does not usually cause illness in healthy people.
He said the pseudomonas bacteria was the same as the bacteria which led to the deaths of four newborns at Belfast's Royal Hospital in January.
Ms Hannon said: 'He said he was really sorry and it should never have happened.
'He told us that the only way Oliver could have caught the infection was through being in neonatal unit.
'We were told that Oliver would still be here if he had not got the infection and they didn't expect it at all.
'I've lost my little boy now. He was a right little pickle and a little rascal.'
The couple were only officially informed that Oliver had died of the bacteria just minutes before the hospital released a statement yesterday.
They have now instructed lawyers to begin legal proceedings for compensation and are due to meet hospital staff.
Hospital officials said Oliver died in August and a dozen others tested positive for the bacteria.
Due to his early arrival, he was vulnerable because of his weak immune system.
Dr Chris Burton, medical director of the North Bristol NHS Trust, said: 'In August a premature baby sadly died in Southmead Hospital neonatal intensive care unit and pseudomonas infection contributed to the death.
'In light of experience in other neonatal ICUs where this has happened North Bristol NHS Trust immediately put in place measures to review infection control procedures in the unit and minimise the risk to other babies.'
Dr Burton said other babies at the unit had been tested and 12 were found to have pseudomonas bacteria on the skin.
'On its own this does not cause illness or require treatment but presents a risk if bacteria gets into the blood stream,' he said.
'One baby has had treatment for a minor infection but the others remain well and eight have been discharged home.
'Three babies with the bacteria on their skin remain in the unit but are being treated in isolation.'
The trust said pseudomonas bacteria has been found in the water supply in the neonatal intensive care unit.
'This is the most common source when similar events have happened in other units,' Dr Burton said.
'To minimise the risk to patients, strict infection control measures have been instituted for staff, parents and visitors.
'Babies are washed in sterile water and the tap water is being filtered to ensure that any pseudomonas bacteria is removed.
'Other measures that have been adopted include more regular testing and enhanced cleaning regimes.
'Whilst these measures have reduced the risk to babies, the hospital estates team are reviewing the water supply and considering other work that could be done to reduce the risk of pseudomonas.'
Dr Burton said that parents of babies in the unit had been given information about the infection.
He also said admissions to the unit had currently been reduced.
The superbug is found widely in soil and stagnant water but does not usually cause illness in healthy people.
Dr Mark Evans, from the Health Protection Agency, said: 'Following the discovery of the bacteria, the agency has provided advice and support to North Bristol NHS Trust to help protect the health of babies in the unit.
Killer: Oliver Hannon died after an outbreak of the water-borne bacteria pseudomonas, pictured, in the baby intensive care unit
'Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly
found in soil and groundwater and it is a recognised healthcare
associated infection that affects people with weakened immune systems.
people most at risk are those with depleted immune systems such as
cancer patients, people with severe burns and premature babies in
'The bacteria can be spread by contaminated water, inhalation of aerosols, touching contaminated surfaces or person-to-person through poor hand hygiene.
'The HPA has provided advice to the trust on measures to reduce the risk to other babies in the unit and we will continue to work with the trust to monitor the situation until confident that the risk has been minimised.
'The infection can be treated effectively with antibiotics, especially if treatment is started immediately after confirming the diagnosis.'
Pseudomonas aeruginosa lives on the skin but can spread through medical equipment such as catheters and feeding tubes inserted into the body.
Earlier this year four babies died after an outbreak of the superbug at two hospitals in Belfast and Londonderry.
Three babies died from the bacterial infection at Belfast’s Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital in January.
Another baby also died at Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, from a different strain of the infection.
The infection can be treated effectively with antibiotics, especially if treatment is started immediately after confirming the diagnosis.