MEDICS at The Countess of Chester Hospital say a patient who died after being discharged from an infected winter vomiting virus ward had not contracted the bug.
Bosses at the Liverpool Road health park are satisfied Elaine Kearney did not have the highly contagious norovirus and say she was not screened for it before being sent home.
Mrs Kearney, 56, died after being sent home from the Watergate ward on Thursday, December 9.
Her death prompted concern from her family who asked why Mrs Kearney, a former auxiliary nurse, was discharged on the day the virus hit the ward.
To contain the bug, medics closed the ward and patients remained in isolation.
This week, the Countess issued a state-ment in light of Mrs Kearney's funeral which was held in Wigan last Thursday.
Hospital spokeswoman Lorna Jones said: 'The hospital has been in close contact with Mrs Kearney's family and we wish to reassure them once more that Mrs Kearney was discharged from hospital at the right time for her.
'This was after she had been reviewed by her consultant physician who confirmed that, within the limits of her longstanding illness, her condition was much improved and she was fit to go home.
'We can also reassure her family that Mrs Kearney was not affected in any way by the winter vomiting virus; she did not show any symptoms and there was no reason to screen her for the virus nor to move her to a different ward.'
In a message to Mrs Kearney's husband Terence in Stanney Lane, Little Stanney, Mrs Jones added: 'We offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Kearney's family and hope this information is helpful to them.
'However, if they have any further issues or concerns they wish to discuss with the hospital's staff, we invite them to contact our patient advice and liaison service again.'
Elaine Kearney died at the Countess on Wednesday, December 15. Her death came a week after The Chronicle told how the bug had struck the hospital for the second time in two years. A total of 49 staff and patients were hit by the virus, forcing the closure of the Meadows wards.
Mrs Kearney was admitted on Monday, December 6 following swelling to her ankles and heart trouble.
She was discharged at 7.30pm on December 9 and her family say her condition then deteriorated rapidly. She died six days later in the Countess high dependency unit.
At the family's request, a Home Office pathologist carried out a post-mortem examination which ruled that Mrs Kearney died of natural causes.
Mrs Kearney's brother Howard Bolton, of Lathom, Lancashire, wants answers from the Countess and says a formal complaint may now be lodged.
Mr Bolton, 54, said: 'Elaine was discharged after being told there was a germ in her ward. My sister was not elderly but she was frail. She was a vulnerable person in terms of her medical history.
'I want to know why my sister was discharged from hospital and what tests were conducted prior to her being discharged to show she did not have the winter vomiting virus. Why was she not placed in another ward?
'Elaine deteriorated and was re-admitted to the Countess on December 13. She should not have been discharged.'