Page last updated at 06:59 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

'It was a waste of gran's life'

Ellen Gillday
Name: Ellen Gildea
Age: 93
Died: 7 March, 2008

Ellen Gildea was a 93-year-old who had suffered a mild stroke and was sent to the Vale of Leven Hospital to recover.

She was placed in the bed vacated by Clostridium difficile (C.diff) patient Sarah McGinty who had been moved out of the ward and put into a single-bed room.

By the time Mrs Gildea had entered the hospital, 10 patients had died of the deadly bug C.diff.

Here, her granddaughter, Kim McGarrity, tells her story.


"My gran was very young for her age, very lively, she loved her family and she loved her grandkids.

She had a lot of life in her - she was a good-looking 93, she would say."

Mrs Gildea went into hospital infection free, but her time on the ward which had C.diff would prove fatal.

The family recalled how two of the patients in nearby beds were violently ill with diarrhoea.

Ellen Gildea's grandaughter
"She loved her family," said Ellen Gildea's granddaughter Kim McGarrity

"The commodes used to get passed from pillar to post, but there was only one auxiliary nurse going between my gran and this woman who had C.diff - which we seemed to think was quite appalling.

"The nurses always seemed to be rushed off their feet."

By the end of February, Mrs Gildea had herself contracted C.diff.

"She kept on moaning, she was really struggling for breath and it was a constant rasping noise and it was horrific to listen to.

"It was a waste of life because she didn't have to die - she could have been saved."

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When Mrs Gildea died on 7 March, 2008, she became the 14th patient to have died at the Vale of Leven.

On the report which was produced in light of the outbreak, Ms McGarrity said: "I felt it was very much the families saying this is what happened, the families say this is what should be done.

"It didn't feel it was the health professionals commenting - I felt it was very narrow, the scope."

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