Government to Review Major Hospital after Pigeon-Related Infections

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. flagship / ˈflægˌʃɪp / (n) – the principal or most important one of its kind

    The country’s flagship hospital uses the most advanced medical technology.

  2. contract / kənˈtrækt / (v) – to get a disease

    She must have contracted a disease after visiting her brother at the hospital.

  3. trace / treɪs / (v) – to track the course or path of something in order to figure out where it came from

    They traced the bacteria to a pile of rotten garbage in the kitchen.

  4. overdue / ˌoʊvɚˈdu / (adj) – delayed; past its due date or deadline

    The national warning about the disease is long overdue because many cities have already been infected by the outbreak.

  5. halt / hɑːlt / (v) – to stop a process or an operation

    The lack of equipment caused the hospital to halt operations.


Read the text below.

Two patient deaths linked to an infection from pigeon droppings have prompted the review of Glasgow’s flagship hospital.

While confined in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), an elderly patient and a child contracted a fungal infection often gotten from bird excrement. Both patients died, and the infection reportedly contributed to the child’s death. However, doctors said that the elderly patient died of another cause.

The fungus that caused the infection was traced to a room containing machinery on the hospital’s 12th floor. The room reportedly has a hole in the wall that could not be seen easily. The investigators were only able to find the opening by doing a smoke test.

Because of the unfortunate incidents, Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman ordered a review of the hospital’s design. She said that the review would reexamine the hospital’s structure, construction, and maintenance, among other things. It will be conducted to figure out how the problems have arisen and to determine what needs to be fixed in the building.

In response to Freeman’s move, Scottish Labour Party’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said that the hospital’s review was already overdue. Lennon pointed out that since 2016, the hospital has been constantly encountering problems. These issues include sewage leaks that led to temporarily halting operations, and broken glass panels crashing from the hospital’s 10th floor. Recently, there was also news of bacteria contaminating the water supply in some parts of the hospital. Lennon said that these problems should have alarmed any hospital, but most especially a major health institution like the QEUH.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How do you think the issues mentioned in the article affect the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital? Discuss.
• How can a health institution regain the public’s trust after being involved in a serious issue? Discuss.

Discussion B

• How often do you think governments should review state-owned hospitals and medical facilities? Explain.
• Aside from structural issues (e.g. building design), what other aspects of state-owned medical facilities should the government address? Discuss.