George, pictured in January 2018, days before he died in isolation at Abbotsford Regiona Hospital. (Submitted photo)

Hospital denies Aldergrove cancer patient’s exposure to superbug despite incriminating letter

‘A possibility’ that the endoscope used ‘may be connected to your infection’: Vancouver Coastal Health

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) is taking no blame for “possibly” infecting a cancer-stricken man from Langley with a highly infectious superbug.

This is according to a civil court filing in response to wife Wendy Gould – who is suing VCHA and Vancouver General Hospital for exposing her husband to the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM) in 2016.

Gould, an Aldergrove resident, alleges it complicated future attempts at treating her husband George’s colorectal cancer, and “ultimately led” to his death.

It was in July 2016 that George underwent multiple endoscopic procedures at the Vancouver hospital – to which VCHA and Gould both agree in court filings.

On March 3, 2017, VCHA sent George a letter, informing him: “you are one of three patients who has been identified as being infected” with NDM.

“There is a possibility that the endoscope used during your procedure may be connected to your infection,” the letter states.

To this day, VCHA has denied knowledge of the source of the superbug, and that the infection aggravated or caused “any medical issues” or contributed to George’s eventual death in 2018.

RELATED: ‘Untreatable’ superbug proved fatal for Aldergrove man: widow

Gould, who married George in October 2010, estimated he ended up in hospital 22 times because of infection, attributing his in-patient stays to violent nausea and frightening hallucinations that resulted from intravenous antibiotics given an attempt to treat the bug.

“Isn’t fighting cancer enough?” she said.

Days before his death, George, was denied palliative care at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH), Gould said.

“There was a room available and George was expected to be transferred there but he could not go to that unit because of the superbug.”

Gould expected to grow old with George by her side. Instead, he passed away in January of 2018 in an isolation unit at ARH at 58, three years after his initial cancer diagnosis.

Now, Gould hopes to prevent this from ever happening again through a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit against against VCHA which operates Vancouver General Hospital.

“I tried so hard to save him but they took that away from us,” she told the Aldergrove Star.

Neither VCHA’s nor Gould’s claims have been proven in court.

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Aldergrove resident Wendy Gould holds the cremated remains of her late husband George, who died in 2018 after battling cancer and a highly-infectious superbug. (Canadian Press photo)

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