HeadLine: FLIGHT OUT OF ORDER!
Daily Record, 10/12/1996, p6
EXCLUSIVE By SHAUN MILNE and TOM LITTLE
Three bosses from the hospital at the centre of the E Coli outbreak went on a trip to the US at the height of the crisis.
Monklands Hospital chief executive Jim Currie, nursing director Dorothy Stewart and a surgeon were involved in an eight-day trip.
They jetted off a week past on Sunday as their doctors had to shut their doors to all but emergency patients.
Details of their trip emerged yesterday as the tragic toll from the killer bug outbreak rose to 10 with the death of 87-year-old Christina Wright.
Last night Jim Currie and his two colleagues were under fire for going to a health care conference in New Orleans as the crisis deepened.
Currie was blasted last night by the dad of six-year-old Jennifer Snodgrass, one of the youngest victims of the outbreak treated at Monklands.
Robert Snodgrass, of Wishaw, Lanarkshire, hit out: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“I just can’t believe the people who run that hospital are away on what is a holiday at the time when so many people are ill.
“It just goes to show the importance that they’ve attached to this.”
Mr Snodgrass, 44, said he and his wife Anne were considering legal action over Jennifer’s illness.
He said: “That little girl has gone through hell.”
Monklands East MP Helen Liddell also slammed Currie’s trip, saying: “With the benefit of hindsight, it may not have been the wisest thing to do.”
Last night a Monklands Hospital spokesman defended Currie’s decision to leave his hospital 10 days ago as the E Coli crisis worsened.
He said: “It was a last minute decision to go. The decision was taken on the back of the evidence that was there.
“They were confident from both a clinical and administration point of view that everything was in hand.
“This conference had been arranged for months in advance. It had nothing to do with E Coli.”
The spokesman even threatened co-operation with the Daily Record would suffer if we reported the trip.
Currie and his colleagues returned to Scotland yesterday and were back at work being updated about the crisis.
Meanwhile, the family of ninth victim Mary Paisley yesterday accused health authorities of causing her death.
Great-gran Mary, 83, of Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, died in Bankview Nursing Home, Banknock, on Sunday after being released from Falkirk Royal
Two of her daughters June, 45, and Wilma, 49, revealed she had eaten contaminated meat bought after health officials first guessed the source of the outbreak.
The meat was bought on November 23 from a Scotmid store in Bonnybridge supplied by butcher John Barr.
That was a day after health inspectors visited Barr.
June and Wilma hit out: “Our mum would still be alive today if a list of all the shops supplied by John Barr had been issued to the public immediately.
“The staff at the nursing home would not have fed that meat to the patients.
“Our mum suffered from dementia. She was very frail. But her death was totally unnecessary.”
Mary was the second Bankview Home resident to die.
Arthur Nicol, 79, of Bonnybridge, died in Falkirk Royal Infirmary last Friday.
And yesterday the death of Christina Wright took the tragic toll into double figures.
The Bonnybridge woman had been rushed to Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow from Falkirk on Saturday for emergency treatment.
George Moore, solicitor for John Barr, the Wishaw butcher at the centre of the outbreak, had no comment to make yesterday.