Superbug to blame for death of Knebworth pensioner

PUBLISHED: 17:40 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:34 26 October 2009

A SUPERBUG has been blamed for causing the death of an elderly woman. Knebworth villager Ruby Shadbolt had been admitted to Lister Hospital for treatment of a broken hip. But after more than three months, the 92-year-old s wound was unable to heal due to

A SUPERBUG has been blamed for causing the death of an elderly woman.

Knebworth villager Ruby Shadbolt had been admitted to Lister Hospital for treatment of a broken hip.

But after more than three months, the 92-year-old's wound was unable to heal due to the superbug clostridium difficile (C-diff).

Although it is unclear where the bug was picked up, consultant Nicholas DeRoeck told an inquest into her death she may have had the infection before entering hospital.

He said the decision to operate on woman, from Deanscoft, was taken to improve her quality of life.

Mr DeRoeck said: "A broken hip in an elderly person won't heal so if you don't do anything surgically you are condemning the person to weeks or months in bed.

"It's a pretty miserable existence."

The operation took place in April, but had not healed by her death on July 20.

At Hatfield Coroner's Court yesterday (Tuesday), Mrs Shadbolt's daughter Irene thanked the staff on the Stevenage hospital's superbug isolation ward for their compassion.

She said: "It was hard for my mum but the staff on that ward were fantastic.

"My mum was so grateful to them."

A verdict of natural causes was recorded by coroner Edward Thomas.


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