Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Friday, 27 July 2007 20:26 UK

Coroner shocked by C. Diff deaths

Image of clostridium
In June there were 13 deaths linked to C Diff in the county

A Nottinghamshire coroner said he has been shocked by the dramatic increase in deaths of hospital patients linked to Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff).

Dr Nigel Chapman said he had dealt with 110 cases in the last 10 months. In November 2006 there were seven reported deaths, which rose to 13 in June 2007.

The coroner made his comments at the inquest of George Warren, 86, who died as a result of contracting the bug.

He returned a verdict of death by natural causes for the Nottingham man.

'Near epidemic'

Dr Chapman said: "C. Diff is almost in epidemic proportions and whilst the hospitals and the community are working very hard to reduce it, we have still not got it under control."

The inquest heard Mr Warren had spent just five hours on a ward that had to be closed due to an outbreak of the bug at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) in November 2006.

He died nine days later from a bowel infection.

The inquest heard the strain of C. Diff was different to that which affected nine other patients on the ward and it cannot be determined exactly where Mr Warren contracted the infection.

A spokesperson from the QMC, said: "We are determined to do all we can to prevent infections such as that suffered by Mr Warren."

Dr Chapman is now working with the QMC to find ways of tackling what he says is a "near epidemic".

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