At Thompson’s we would like to reassure all our clients that as far as possible we are operating as normal. The health and safety of our staff and clients is our primary concern during this outbreak and as such we are reviewing the situation on a regular basis and will be adapting our working practices following government guidelines. However, we have had to make some minor changes to how we are doing things.

Following Government guidelines, we have temporarily closed all of our offices and our staff are now all working from home using secure technologies to ensure they are able to continue to progress with existing and new cases as normal. All face to face meetings have been cancelled, however we are continuing to hold these meetings via phone and video calls. All the team are contactable on their direct dial numbers and email should you need to speak with your solicitor, please do not hesitate to talk to us about anything during this time.

We know these are uncertain and unsettling times for many of our clients, and the wider population, and things might look a little different for the foreseeable future. But our focus remains on our dedication, knowledge and strength that we provide to all our clients. We will continue to provide updates over the coming days and weeks in accordance with official guidelines and to keep everyone informed of the situation.

As always, for any concerns, advice and updates on your case; Talk to Thompsons.

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Thompsons Solicitors Scotland
Thompsons Solicitors Scotland

It has been reported that two patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow have recently died after contracting fungal infections caused by pigeon droppings.  Both patients developed cryptococcosis, which is caused by fungus from soil or bird droppings. 

pigeons Although most people who are exposed to the fungus never become ill, symptoms can include fever, chest pain, cough, headache, and vomiting. More serious cases can lead to seizures or comas. 

The hospital have not yet confirmed whether the infection was a contributing factor to the patients’ deaths and they have declined to give further detail for reasons of patient confidentiality. However they have stated that the organism which causes the infection is harmless to most people, although a small number of patients were receiving medication to protect them and air filter units have been installed in some areas as an extra precaution.

Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, has noted that the infection is very unusual in the UK. However he has also pointed out that the infection can lead to meningitis, and can be fatal if it is not diagnosed.  As people with weak immune systems are most at risk, it is particularly worrying that exposure has taken place in a hospital filled with vulnerable patients.

The infection is airborne and it is suspected that the source of it was a machine room which pigeons had somehow been getting into.   As the infection is airborne, it likely then entered the hospital’s ventilation system. 

Shockingly, it has now come to light that complaints about the number of pigeons at the hospital were made at least nine months ago.  Sophie Fyfe, who was attending for her husband to undergo an MRI scan, noticed a large number of pigeons were nesting around the outside air vent systems and that the vent unit systems were covered in pigeon droppings. She wrote to Shona Robinson, who was health secretary at the time, but states that no response was received and given the recent news, it seems no action was taken.  A freedom of information request has also shown that complaints relating pigeons were made as far back as January 2017.

Former health secretary Alex Neil has said an independent inquiry should be carried out into how NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have handled matters, particularly as it took three weeks for news of the infection to be made public.  Such an inquiry would also provide information on what steps can be taken to avoid a similar situation in the future ensure the hospital now complies with their duty of care to their patients.

Blog by Claire Campbell, Solicitor

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