University Hospital Limerick endures highest level of overcrowding amid superbug outbreak

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

University Hospital Limerick endures highest level of overcrowding amid superbug outbreak

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick is enduring the highest level of overcrowding in the country as it deals with a major outbreak of the deadly CPE superbug. 

According to figures published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there were 46 patients being treated on emergency department trolleys and on additional trolleys or beds in the wards this Monday morning. 

Trailing behind UHL are University Hospital Waterford and Cork University Hospital with 31 and 30 patients on trolleys, respectively. 

This chronic overcrowding comes after UL Hospitals Group announced a CPE outbreak at a number of wards last week. 

There have been 21 detections at UHL since June, one of the highest rates of the outbreak ever recorded at the hospital since its first detection in 2009. 

CPE—Carbapenem-producing Enterobacteriaceae—is a multi-drug resistant superbug that is resistant to the carbapenem antiobiotic group, making it difficult to manage and contain especially in an acute hospital setting, where it is primarily detected. 

The 21 detections were colonised cases, meaning the bug is harmlessly resting in the bowels. However, if infected, there is generally a 50% survival rate as it mainly affects those who are immunocomprimised. 

Visiting restrictions are in place, from 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 9pm, with one visitor per patient allowed.