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Cleanliness & Godliness

The Mater Hospital in Dublin is one of the city’s major hospitals. It is the designated site for the new “world classâ€? children’s hospital [and an adult hospital adjoining].

It has apologised to a former patient who stayed in the hospital last May.

It apologised for “any incidents of sub-standard hygieneâ€? she may have experienced. Her experience was:

a) The hospital was filthy;

b) There was urine on the floor of the toilets;

c) Excrement was stuck to the sides of the toilet for days at a time;

d) Water flooded the shower room and ran out into the hall;

e) The toilet remained flooded for eight hours after she reported the situation;

f) She was put into a ward with male patients;

The Hospital denied that the conditions were in accordance with the hospital’s required standards, which, it said, are monitored and audited on a regular basis, both internally and externally.


This report immediately preceded the announcement of a four-year research project to discover where hospital patients pick up MRSA and find new methods of preventing its spread.

The project will cost €1.5 million. Beaumont hospital, another major hospital in the city will carry out the study. One of the foci of the study will be to discover which patients suffering from MRSA are bringing MRSA into the hospitals.

COMMENT: The study seems set to beg at least one question: that the hospital staff are the reservoir of MRSA. The control methods are known and already available in Holland. Beaumont hospital should save a lot of public money by checking the web or making a trip to Holland and simply write the report on return. Generally speaking, “MRSA is not stronger than hospital hygieneâ€? but if we can’t keep the toilets clean we can’t do what is necessary to defeat it. Professor David Coleman is quoted as saying that hand hygiene is not simply a matter for staff, but there seems to be no recognition that it is first a matter for staff.