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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 16:10 GMT
Superbug kills two-day-old baby
Glynis and Luke Day
Luke's mother Glynis Day said she wants action to be taken
A 36-hour-old baby boy has died from the MRSA superbug.

Luke Day was born at Ipswich hospital's maternity unit on 2 February but died the next day after becoming infected.

The hospital denied family claims it had tried to "cover up" MRSA as the cause of death, adding tests had not found the bacteria in the ward.

But Luke's father Kevin Fenton, 24, said: "I have no confidence in the NHS now - if I ever have to go into hospital I will be afraid."

I want something done about it, even though it's not going to bring him back
Glynis Day

Luke's 17-year-old mother Glynis Day said: "I just want people to know what can happen.

"I want something done about it, even though it's not going to bring him back."

A spokesman for the hospital described the death of baby Luke as a "tragedy of the highest proportion".

Dr Michael Bamford, a consultant paediatrician at the hospital, who treated Luke, said tests for the bacteria on the ward and hospital staff have so far proved negative.

Luke was born naturally, weighing 7lb 7oz, and showed no sign of ill health.

Luke Day
Luke weighed 7lb 7oz when he was born
However, he died 36 hours later and a post-mortem examination, carried out at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London, found the cause of death was septicaemia caused by MRSA.

The bug, an infection resistant to antibiotics, is blamed for 20% of the 5,000 deaths in hospitals every year from infections.

In February, the Office for National Statistics published findings showing the number of deaths linked to MRSA doubled in four years between 1999 and 2003.

Luke's family said they were shocked to discover the superbug had not been listed as the cause of death and accused hospital bosses of covering up the infection a claim the hospital denied.

Mr Fenton added: "I was so annoyed that MRSA was not initially on his death certificate - how many other people have been in the same shoes? The true picture isn't available to the public."

'Cover up' denied

Luke's grandmother Kathy Day has resigned from her job as family support worker at the hospital, saying she cannot support the NHS any more.

Ipswich Hospital denied the family's claims that it had tried to "cover up" MRSA as the cause of death by leaving the term off Luke's death certificate.

A spokesman said: "The NHS did not issue a death certificate. The death certificate was provided by the coroner.

"As it was an unexpected death the coroner was informed and took the medical records and the forms. That was sent to Great Ormond Street and the MRSA was found.

"In the meantime the hospital had taken their own swabs and as soon as they found that they informed the family."

Tory leader's grief

Answering questions on Luke at a Labour news conference, Health Secretary John Reid said every one of the 2,000 infant deaths recorded each year was a tragedy.

But he stressed that on average just one of those deaths resulted from MRSA, although one death was one too many and he added that his heart went out to Luke's family.

Commenting on Luke's death, Tory leader Michael Howard, whose mother-in-law died from the MRSA superbug, sent his "deepest sympathies" to the family.

"I know what it is like to have a close family member who has been the victim of MRSA and I can imagine the grief that the family are experiencing."

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NHS superbug death rate doubles
24 Feb 05 |  Health

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