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Fifth patient dies from C. difficile

Niagara health authorities report a fifth patient has died as a result of the outbreak of C. difficile at the St. Catharines General Hospital.

“This patient had serious health issues and also tested positive for C. difficile. The patient’s death will be reviewed to determine the role C. difficile played or did not play in the death,” said Anne Atkinson, Vice President, Patient Services for the Niagara Health System.

The Regional Coroner is being notified of all deaths of patients with C. difficile until the outbreak is declared over, states an NHS press release.

The Coroner will determine whether to conduct its own medical review on a case-by-case basis. The hospital also conducts a review of every patient death related to the outbreak to determine whether C. difficile was the cause of death, a contributing factor, or unrelated. All of these deaths are also reported to Niagara Region Public Health under provincial legislation.

There were two hospital-associated cases early on in the C. difficile outbreak when it was declared 16 days ago on May 28. There have been no new cases since May 28.

As of Sunday, June 12, there are 20 patients with C. difficile hospitalized at the St. Catharines General – 14 of which have hospital associated C. difficile and six of which are community associated. Since the outbreak was declared on May 28, the total number of patient cases of C. difficile associated with the outbreak is 29.

“Compliance with hand washing and other measures is essential to bring the outbreak to conclusion,” said Mrs. Atkinson.

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