AN East Lancashire man said he was ‘heartborken and furious’ to hear that a baby had died after contracting a deadly infection from a suspected contaminated drip - because 20 years ago his son died after a similar tragedy.
Coun Roy Davies said the NHS had ‘clearly failed to learn lessons’ from the death of his son Timothy at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in 1994, despite being given assurances that ‘things like this would never happen again’.
Nine-year-old Timothy had been undergoing treatment for leukaemia and contracted a deadly blood infection from an intravenous feed. It also emerged that two other babies had died after contracting the same infection from drips.
Babies under the care of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) are ‘not at risk’ from contaminated drip feeds, bosses said.
Coun Davies, a Darwen councillor and former chairman of the health scrutiny committee at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said he was devasted to learn of the death of a baby boy at St Thomas' Hospital in London on Sunday, after he contracted a deadly bacterial infection at the neonatal intensive care unit.
It has since been reported that 18 babies across nine hospitals in the south-east have been struck down with blood poisoning, brought on by an infection that has been ‘strongly linked’ to an intravenous fluid supplied by London-based pharmaceutical firm ITH Pharma.
They had all been given a fluid called parenteral nutrition - which is supposed to deliver a variety of nutrients intravenously when a baby is unable to eat on its own.
Coun Davies, of Olive Lane, said: “I’m fuming because I feel like Timothy has died for nothing. It was a big national story at the time and they said they would put things in place to make sure it never happened again, and here we are it’s happening again.
“I feel really disgusted and let down.”
Dr Rineke Schram, chief medical officer at ELHT, said: “We can confirm that no babies in our neo-natal unit are at risk from this incidence of contamination.
“The unit at The Lancashire Women’s and Newborn Centre does not use the lipid preparation of the intravenous feed incriminated in the outbreak in the south-east.
“We will of course, continue to remain vigilant. We have spoken to all parents of our babies on intravenous feeding, and provided reassurance.”
The suspected contaminated feeds are being investigated by officials from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the authority is also promoting ITH Pharma's product recall on certain batches of the fluid.