By stewartb:

The Unreported? – more from the review of the new Southern General Hospital (aka the South Glasgow Hospital)

Media coverage and politics

The report of this independent review makes telling, if ‘diplomatically put’, comments about the public discourse around claims of what had happened in terms of infections and deaths in Glasgow’s major new hospital. It’s worthwhile amplifying these comments through the channel provided by the Tusker.


In various places in the report the authors provide this crucial context which, even as an ‘alert’ consumer of the news media in Scotland, I warrant many would have been – may still – be unaware:

Para 8.29.5. “The link between the patient who died and who was associated with Mucor infection has been explicitly discounted. The link between two patients with Cryptococcus infection and bird-borne carriage of the organism does not have a sound evidential basis. Other potential explanations and matters remain under review by an expert group commissioned by NHS GG&C.”

Here the report make some ‘interesting’ comments – and it’s probably not unreasonable to the read between lines:

Para 9.12.18: “Theories, hypotheses and possibilities have been transmitted and discussed in the media and Scottish Parliament in a way that has given them an undeserved provenance. In the case of the reported death of a patient from the fungal infection Mucor, subsequent analysis disproved the link between the event, the pathogen and the patient outcome but there has been little success in retracting or replacing the original and disproven narrative.”

And to drive the point home:

Para 9.12.19: “Communications through Government and Parliament – we recognise the need for accurate and sensitive reporting of clinical events as part of the democratic process. All who contribute to the chain of communication need to understand the need to signal information that is firm and factual, as distinct from information that is tentative and belongs to a hypothesis and is subject to confirmation.

The report has a tendency to repeat itself – presumably for emphasis (and perhaps in an attempt again to counter a prevailing media narrative?) – notably on these crucial issues:

Para 8.32.2: “We have taken a view on the three cases of infection that gave rise to the establishment of the Review. We note that, in the case of isolation of Mucor in a patient and their subsequent death, further case investigation has ruled out a firm link with the two events. In the case of the two people with Cryptococcus infection, there is not a sound evidential basis on which to make a link between their infection, subsequent deaths, and the presence or proximity of pigeons or their excrement.

There are other ‘unreported’ aspects of this report which hopefully will also receive proper amplification in time.