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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 19:47 GMT
MRSA victim was nurse at hospital
Maribel Espada
Maribel Espada's husband is considering legal action
A nurse who died after giving birth at North Staffordshire Hospital was a victim of a deadly strain of the superbug MRSA, it has been revealed.

Two people have died in the outbreak at the Stoke-on-Trent hospital from the Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) strain of the bug.

Maribel Espada, 33, who lived in the city, died on 26 September six days after giving birth at the hospital.

The hospital said action had been taken to prevent the spread of the bug.

Mrs Espada's husband Wenn, 30, said he was considering legal action against the hospital over his wife's death.

The PVL strain had not previously caused a hospital death.

Once identified this form of MRSA responds more readily to antibiotics than other more common forms of MRSA
University Hospitals of North Staffordshire NHS Trust

Mrs Espada, who was originally from the Philippines, came to the UK and registered as a nurse four years ago.

She was living with her husband in Sneyd Green in Stoke-on-Trent and gave birth to their first child six days before she died.

Mr Espaba, a warehouse worker, said his wife was very proud of her job at the hospital.

"She was a strong person who was dedicated to her work and was always friendly and helpful.

"I was very dependent upon her support and have found it extremely difficult to cope," he said.

The Health Protection Agency said it was investigating the possibility Mrs Espada caught PVL MRSA from a patient who died at the hospital in March.

A spokesman for University Hospitals of North Staffordshire NHS Trust said all staff who had come in contact with the two people originally diagnosed with PVL MRSA had been screened by the hospital's infection control team.

Decontamination course

A further nine cases were subsequently identified, of which one was a former patient.

The eight other cases were either members of staff or people staff had come into contact with.

He said they had either received treatment or were undergoing treatment.

Any staff who had the bug underwent a course of decontamination and were screened for the infection.

'Taking advice'

Only after they had given three clear screenings were they allowed to return to duties.

The spokesman added: "No current patients have been identified as affected.

"All those affected have been informed and there is no need for any other patient to be concerned.

"With the exception of one infection it is not clear at this stage whether transmission has occurred within the hospital or, as is more common, in the community which it serves.

"The hospital is continuing to take advice from the Health Protection Agency on management of the outbreak.

"It is important to note that once identified this form of MRSA responds more readily to antibiotics than other more common forms of MRSA."

Stephen Maguire from Manchester-based solicitors Donns LLP who is representing Mr Espada, said: "We will be examining whether the hospital followed the relevant national and internal protocols for minimising risk of cross infection."

Personal injury lawyers are advising Wenn Espada

Q&A: PVL 'superbug'
18 Dec 06 |  Health

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