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CPE risk on Beaumont ward ‘beyond acceptable’

The possibility of acquiring carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) on Beaumont Hospital’s Hamilton Ward was “beyond” a level appropriate to ask patients if they accepted the risk, the Medical Independent can reveal.

The observation was made in a HSE report, which stated the pattern of CPE transmission on the ward was suggestive of a “persistent environmental reservoir”.

The hospital says the ward has since undergone a full refurbishment, as was recommended.

The HSE visited the hospital in February.

Draft summary notes by Prof Martin Cormican, head of the HSE’s antimicrobial resistance and infection control (AMRIC) team, said the outbreak (involving OXA-48 CPE) became apparent in July/early August 2018.

As he understood it, cystic fibrosis patients admitted to the ward had not been screened for CPE and he did not know to what extent they were consulted in this matter.

The risk of acquiring CPE for a patient admitted to the ward was “of the order of one-in-20”, noted Prof Cormican, who recommended suspension of new admissions, except those patients known to be colonised with OXA-48 CPE.

According to the report, hospital CEO Mr Ian Carter indicated there were certain patients vulnerable to infection who were not considered for admission to the ward. However, Mr Carter considered that the number of patients awaiting admission in the emergency department regularly reached a level where the risk associated with delayed admission to a ward was greater than that associated with admission to the Hamilton Ward.

Beaumont’s spokesperson said all patients are screened on admission to the Hamilton Ward.

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