CJD warning at Romford hospital

There have been calls for changes to Department of Health (DoH) policy on new cleaning technology after it emerged that Queen’s Hospital sent 21 brain surgery patients letters last year warning them that there was a chance they could have contracted a form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

The warning was sent out to those patients as a precaution and the hospital – which followed correct procedures – is warning that other patients don’t need to be worry that they have contracted the potentially fatal prion disease. It is not be confused with varient CJD, which causes the human form of mad cow disease.

Father-of-two Paul Davey, 35, from Colchester, was one of the patients treated at Queen’s who received a letter.

Mr Davey had endured years of surgery after suffering a haemorrhage in 2001.

He believed his ordeal was over after his last operation in 2007, but in August last year he received the letter informing him of the risk of CJD.

He said: “I should have been moving on all happy and not having to worry about this.

“The letter said the chances of having the infection are so slim, but then in the next paragraph it says I can’t give blood or organs and I need to tell my dentist.”

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Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has written to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to ask him if the correct technology is available to hospitals to treat prion infections.

A spokesman for Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust said: “After being told that the parent of a patient who had a neurosurgical operation at the Trust was affected by an inherited form of prion disease, the Trust has followed national guidance in contacting other patients who were operated on using the same surgical instruments.

“Although all the surgical instruments were decontaminated, the abnormal protein associated with CJD is difficult to completely eradicate and there is an extremely small risk that this might be passed on by surgery.”

He added that there is no known instance of the disease being passed to another patient in this way.