HSE awaits postmortem results on patient who died during hospital flu outbreak

Restrictions: St Ita's Hospital in Newcastle West
THE HSE is trying to determine if an elderly patient who died at St Ita’s Hospital in Newcastle West was a casualty of an ongoing flu outbreak there.

THE HSE is trying to determine if an elderly patient who died at St Ita’s Hospital in Newcastle West was a casualty of an ongoing flu outbreak there.

The HSE is awaiting the results of a postmortem examination on the patient, who passed away last week while the hospital was fighting to contain the virus, which broke out in one of its residential care wards last month.

A total of twenty three residents have received treatment for respiratory problems, while hospital staff have been working to ensure its 65 continuing care patients have received the flu vaccine. A HSE spokesperson said that as of this Wednesday, 51 of the 65 have been vaccinated.

No new cases of the virus have been reported since last Wednesday. All admissions to the affected ward remain cancelled until further notice, while visiting has been restricted to immediate family only as the HSE fights to stop the virus spreading to the hospital’s respite, rehab and short stay wards.

At present, there are 92 patients admitted to St Ita’s Hospital, almost two-thirds of which are in its continuing care ward.

Hospital authorities notified the office of the County Limerick coroner following the death of the patient last week, in a bid to determine more information. It is understood that the deceased was one of the patients who contracted the flu virus, but that they also had underlying health problems.

Children, the elderly and others deemed at risk to the flu virus have been advised to not visit the hospital until further notice.