MRSA stole my beloved father from me

Andrea Jenkyns is raising awareness of MRSA and the need for treatments and hospital cleanliness after her dad died after contracting the superbug. (W553C427)
Andrea Jenkyns is raising awareness of MRSA and the need for treatments and hospital cleanliness after her dad died after contracting the superbug. (W553C427)
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When Andrea Jenkyns’ dad died after contracting MRSA in hospital she decided more must be done to control the potentially-fatal bug.

When Andrea Jenkyns’ dad died after contracting MRSA in hospital she decided more must be done to control the potentially-fatal bug.

Clifford Jenkyns, 73, of Upton, had been admitted to Pinderfields Hospital for surgery when he caught MRSA in July 2011.

He had earlier been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, and a consultant in Sheffield said he could expect to live another 10 years after a lung operation.

But the MRSA infection prevented medics from carrying out the surgery. Mr Jenkyns was transferred to St James’ Hospital in Leeds and died in November 2011.

Miss Jenkyns, 40, said: “He had such a big heart. If he saw someone in the street he’d give them his last tenner.

“His energy and exuberance lit up the room. At the funeral everybody said once you’d met Clifford you’d never forget him. He was one in a million.” Miss Jenkyns said the family had struggled to come to terms with Clifford’s death.

She said: “He was my best friend really. We spoke about three times a day. “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. He was such a big part of my life and such an inspiration.”

Following Clifford’s death Miss Jenkyns and her mum Valerie both joined MRSA Action UK, determined to make sure the same thing did not happen to other families.

Miss Jenkyns, who volunteers as a regional representative for the organisation, described addressing a medical professionals at a healthcare conference and asking them: “Do you believe that simply washing your hands can save a life?”

Miss Jenkyns said: “Shockingly, very few put their hands up to agree with this statement.

“I have personally seen doctors and nurses forget to wash their hands when treating patients, I have also seen visitors to hospitals not wash their hands when visiting loved ones.”

She has been working with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to raise awareness of MRSA and the need for hand washing and cleanliness.

Miss Jenkyns said: “It has got to be a priority for people and we need to change the culture so things are properly checked. “If we can get food hygiene in factories right, we should be able to do it in hospitals.” Derek Butler, chairman of MRSA Action UK, said families often found that MRSA was not listed on death certificates as the primary or secondary cause of death, even though it led to a loved one’s death.

He said: “I would encourage this. It might mean the infection rates would appear to go up, but it would help to highlight problems and how to avoid them in future.

“A similar system is used in other high-risk industries like air travel.”