My Dad's Story

Share Your Clostridium Difficile Experiences With Others Here

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My Dad's Story

Postby Essex » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:31 pm

I'd like to share my experience to try and get closure for my family, to raise the awareness of over prescribing antibiotics and the dangers of extended hospital stays for the elderly.

My elderly father passed away from CDiff in June 2014 at the age of 89 after a brave battle lasting 4 weeks of continuous treatment. We suspected he contracted it as a complication following three hospital stays to investigate ongoing hip and leg pain over a period of 3 months. Each subsequent discharge from the hospital resulted in him contracting another chest and/or urinary infection which was treated as an in-patient with broad spectrum antibiotics, in particular, co-amoxiclav was the offending antibiotic.

At no time during any of the hospital stays were we informed about the risks factors following subsequent courses of antibiotic treatment or did they even attempt to enquire whether he had been on antibiotics prior to admittance. In fact the lack of communication of patient notes between NHS trusts and between hospitals of the same trusts was in my opinion a contributory factor leading to my father acquiring CDiff.

It was not until my father had been admitted to a care home for some physio for a few days that he went into urinary retention and was admitted to another hospital. He was treated with another course of co-amoxiclav and a few days later showed signs of Cdiff such as stomach pains, vomiting and loose bowels. This last hospital promptly recognised the symptoms followed by a stool test and put him in an isolation ward. He was unresponsive to the initial treatment of a course of (flagyl) so the treatment was changed to an aggressive combination of oral and colonic Vancomycin, oral Fidaxomycin and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. He responded to the first two weeks of treatment but then things started to go downhill and the infection did not abate.  Complications resulting from too many blood transfusions, and CDiff toxins in the subsequent few weeks become two much for him. The frequent diarrhoea lead to a protein deficiency and blood thinning. The fact that he already suffered from diverticular disease did not help. This and the CDiff lead to ulcerative colitis and finally the excessive fluid to congestive heart failure.

The nurses looking after my Dad were wonderful, both caring and compasionate. However we will never really know if the treatment he was receiving was correct or mismanaged by the doctors treating him. In any case, in my opinion if treatment was provided at home by his GP or as an outpatiant to resolve his hip pain by way of Physio, he never would have contracted CDiff in the first place.

Reading accounts of other people has reassured us that we are not alone and that luckily, some people survive this awful infection.


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Postby graziella » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:03 pm

Dear Simon

I am so sorry to hear about your loss, please do accept my deepest sympathy. I do know how you must be feeling because like you I have lost someone I love to cdiff. It is a horrible infection for anyone to have to endure but for the elderly it is just that much worse because they cannot fight the infection like someone younger and fitter.

Antibiotics are a big contributing factor and Co-Amoxiclave is one of the worse offenders when it comes to cdiff. Another contributing factor is a contaminated environment, although environmental cleaning may have improved in some hospitals it could still be a problem. In my grandmothers case I am pretty sure that this contributed to her cdiff infection because the ward was filthy.

You are certainly not alone because as you can see on this forum there have been far too many people that have been infected with cdiff and far too many people have died as a result but as you have said, luckily many do survive.

Take care


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Postby roy » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:50 am

My Mums story is very close to your Dads.
Its terrible that they went into hospital to get well and contracted a deadly disease while they were in there.
If a deadly bug was infecting prisoners in jail there would be a massive outcry.
Hospitals just shrug it off as an inconvenience
My thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time


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Postby Lou » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:50 pm

So very sorry to hear about the loss of your father. X

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