Bed Bugs Unknowingly Admitted to Hospital ER

St. Mary’s Hospital, located in Kitchener, Ontario, is on the lookout for bed bugs. Last Sunday, it is suspected a patient of the Emergency Room was the means of transporting the pests into the ER.

st marys hospital.jpg

Bed bugs have been known to hitch a ride in clothing, backpacks or purses; anything that offers a dark, secluded harbourage between feedings.  If disturbed, they will scurry off in search of a new hide-away.  Or if hungry they will seek out their favourite food – human blood.  They find their victims by sensing their body head and their exhaled CO2.

St. Mary’s staff did a thorough cleaning of the affected ward, discarding supplies that might be infested, and contracting out a thorough steam cleaning of the area.  Steam can be an effective treatment as a contact killer of bed bugs.  They also directed their employees to clear out their personal belongings from the locker room.  Lydia Chudleigh, Vice-President of Quality Performance and Management, stated:

“It was probably overkill.  No bugs were sighted in that area.”

A bed bug policy has been put in place and staff instructed to be on the lookout for additional bed bugs.

St. Mary’s is to be applauded for their efficient and green response to the threat.  It is hoped:

  • the discarded supplies were marked as ‘bed bug infested’;
  • they instructed their staff to isolate their belongings until they could be heat treated, e.g. 30 minutes in a dryer on high heat; and
  • staff have been fully versed in all stages, appearance and habits of bed bugs throughout their life cycle.

They could have gone one step further to ensure their eradication efforts were successful – they could have hired a bed bug dog as a post-treatment quality control measure; even Chudleigh stated:

“We believe we got anything that might have been there.  But you can never be too careful.”


on 2011-08-03 04:22 by Bedbugmutts

In response to the publicity generated on this bed bug news piece, hospital officials of St. Mary's General Hospital have clarified the situation.  The ER patient in question, resided in a building with bed bugs.  The hospital isolated the patient, discarded supplies that may have been exposed, added cleaning precautions - including the cleaning of a staff room.  This was St. Mary's first bed bug patient and the Director of Support Services, Tammy Quigley, was quick to point out:

"Bed bugs, while a nuisance, are not a health risk for patients."

Assuming Quigley was referring to the fact bed bugs are not a vector to pass disease to their victims, those that have suffered anxiety filled sleepless nights would argue that they are a health risk.