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

'Dad was scared, he was terrified'

Alister Johnstone
Name: Alister Johnston
Age: 66
Died: 9 March, 2008

At 66, Alister Johnston was relatively young to be struck down by the C.diff bug.

He found himself in the Vale of Leven after suffering a recurring chest infection.

The pensioner started to show the signs of C.diff after about a month at the hospital.

Mr Johnston's family was handed his soiled pyjamas to launder at home.

His daughter, Sheila Chandler, recalls his time at the Vale of Leven hospital and the painful path he took to his death.


"On a particularly bad night, there were three pairs of pyjamas, his slippers and dressing gown all basically covered in diarrhoea.

"They had been put in a bag under my dad's bed and when my mum came in the bag was handed to her.

"The nurse in question said 'he's had a couple of wee accidents, that's his washing'.

"The stench was horrendous, the pyjamas were laundered in the usual way.

"We didn't know how infectious C.diff was, we didn't know even that it was a killer."

Alister Johnstone's daughter
Mr Johnston's daughter, Sheila Chandler, said her father was not ready to die

Mr Johnston's daughter said the family had been given no information regarding C.diff.

"My mum was sitting with a plastic apron on and I just laughed and said 'what have you come as?'

"She said 'apparently he's got a bug and this is him in isolation'.

"Unfortunately, a poor guy with chest pains came and they put him opposite my dad - so he wasn't in fact in isolation."

By the beginning of March, Mr Johnston was gravely ill and his daughter remembers the crowded conditions of Ward 3.

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"I was sitting on a chair and I had the curtain draped over the back of my head while I was sitting holding my dad's hand as he was dying.

"He kept saying, 'oh no, oh no ' - he was scared, my dad was terrified.

"He wasn't ready to go and he was fighting against it, he was only 66.

"Even though it was all over, the distress on his face will live with me forever."

On the report which was produced after the outbreak, Mrs Chandler said: "We felt information was possibly being held back - to me there were failings all down the line, it didn't go into that really."

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